Apprentice Data Analyst
Arnold Brighton – DFDS
Role: Apprentice Data Analyst
An apprenticeship with DFDS seemed like the ideal first step towards a dream job elsewhere, and after some research he became very excited to apply. Arnold had set his sights on a data-related role, but after dropping out of university and moving home to a small town, he thought his options were limited.
“I hadn’t considered a career in logistics before I saw the apprenticeship posting, although once I had done some research into the industry, I realised the immense possibilities. I didn’t know what to expect, but I can say now that the industry is very friendly and welcoming, everyone has similar goals and the opportunities are growing.”
Arnold’s role involves capturing data from available sources to verify, analyse and report his findings. His work makes everyday processes more efficient, and brings him a lot of satisfaction.
“There was a complex process a department was doing every week that took one person over a day to complete. I created a tool for them, and this process now takes under two minutes.”
Having already completed many informal courses on the job, all funded by DFDS, Arnold is keen to expand his learning. He’s energised and excited by the prospects that working in logistics offers.
“Logistics is a key industry worldwide and will always exist, it is becoming highly innovative with new technology and seems to be getting more recognition for its importance. It is a very safe and beneficial choice for a long-term career; once you are established, the possibilities of both horizontal and vertical career growth are endless.”
Warehouse Solutions Manager
Paul Caine – KINAXIA
Role: Warehouse Solutions Manager
Paul began his career in logistics over 30 years ago, helping to configure and improve Warehouse Management Systems. After getting to grips with optimising efficiencies, processes, layouts and storage capacities, he wanted to broaden his knowledge.
A role as a Warehouse Operative proved to be a good fit, and he worked his way up, steadily gaining the experience and knowledge needed to secure a role in senior management, which saw him managing large 3PL operations for over 20 years.
But a specialism was calling, and in a new role as WMS and Operations & Lean Specialist, Paul embraced new skills in project management, continuous improvement and lean organisation management, working closely with teams to improve efficiency in all areas of operation, all while maintaining the highest level of customer service for his clients and their customers.
Paul now works with Kinaxia in the world of automation, managing a fully automated fulfilment centre. Throughout his varied and ever developing career in logistics, he still loves the challenge that comes with striving for operational improvement.
Working collaboratively with colleagues and clients to understand their business needs and develop strategies for their futures, he supports them to achieve their goals through his expertise.
“Helping businesses to build and sustain partnerships with clients whilst maintaining high levels of service has always given me so much satisfaction.”
Buffaload Class 1 Driver
Domino Homer – Cold Chain Federation
Role: Buffaload Class 1 Driver
For Domino, the dream was always lorry driving. But school sent her down a different road, and after studying for a diploma in finance, she landed a job in the financial industry.
But while she was good at the job, and picked up some valuable skills doing it, it wasn’t something she felt passionately about. So she decided to get her dream back on the road.
It turned out that Domino’s partner was also keen to start a driving career, so they both passed their Class 1 in the same year, and are now both happily working for Buffaload, a member of The Cold Chain Federation – the trade body that has represented the UK temperature controlled storage and distribution industry for more than a century.
As a woman in the world of LGV driving, Domino says she was made to feel very welcome:
“At Buffaload, I’m treated like any other professional driver. In the industry you can come across those who do treat you differently because you’re female, but whenever I come up against this attitude it just encourages me to prove them wrong and show them what I’ve got.”
And she’s relishing the career journey to come, “I look forward to going to new places, seeing more of the UK and continuing to improve on my own skills as an HGV driver. I want to spread the word and influence others, male and female, to pursue this rewarding career.”
2nd Year Apprentice – Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump
Danny Rao – Marshall
Role: 2nd Year Apprentice – Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump
Danny left school at 16 and dove straight into work, with the aim of forging a clear and fulfilling career path. After two years of an Aerospace apprenticeship where he gained a basic understanding of engineering practices, he decided it was time for a change.
Now as a second year apprentice at MFS, Danny says, “Coming into the logistics and refrigeration industry has been a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve always been able to take in more information and learn at a faster pace when I’m hands-on, and spending less time in the classroom.”
Danny has found that the industry and its fresh, practical way of working encourages colleagues to come out of their shells and communicate clearly, with ease.
He’s keen to highlight the skills he’s gaining while he learns, skills that he might not have recognised the value of before he made the switch.
“Being at Marshall and working alongside colleagues in the industry has enabled me to really develop my soft skills and communication, which is tremendously important when looking to develop a career. Without making the move to logistics, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to spot that”.
Chief Technology Officer
Ross Jermy – UKWA
Role: Chief Technology Officer
After gaining an Undergraduate degree in physics, Ross’ dream of becoming a pilot felt out of reach. He worked in food retail for a while, before heading into banking where he became a Business Development Manager.
By 2016, Ross had years of varied experience under his belt. Working in food retail meant he’d developed strong people skills, while his time at the bank made him commercially aware and at home with sales. He still had his physics foundation too, making him a whizz with data and numbers. All of this experience added up to a mixed and incredibly valuable skill set, which won him his next role, this time in logistics.
“My job was to help franchisees grow, to sit with them and understand their challenges. That role evolved and I became more operational… I was put onto a project with Accufrate in California, developing a freight comparison tool for InXpress, to help customers order pallets online.”
Ross has since gone on to work with logistics technology businesses including Flostream, Despatch Cloud and now HubEurope, a member of UKWA – Britain’s leading trade organisation for the logistics sector.
“If you don’t move around in your career, you don’t learn from the different experiences of the people around you. The people around me really helped me develop my skills. I have been very fortunate to work with some truly inspirational people.”
Ross urges school leavers to consider logistics:
“Logistics is something that will always exist, as something always needs moving from A to B. It’s a good place to be if you want longevity and career progression.”
Internal Recruitment Consultant
HSEQ Degree Apprentice
Group Operations Manager
Robert Cunningham – Kinaxia
Role: Group Operations Manager
Many who join the logistics industry arrive with no prior experience of the sector, but for some, it’s a family business.
“My father was a Class One driver for over 50 years, I was brought up in and around road transport, travelling all over Europe with him during my school holidays. It ignited a passion for the industry.” The road was where Robert started his career too, as a driver.
You might not find Robert on the road so much these days, but his current role as Group Operations Manager at Kinaxia has offered just as much experience and variety. “I look after the operational requirements of our General Haulage and Network divisions, supporting the Managing Director with the development and growth of the business.”
Learning on the job was clearly something Robert picked up from his dad, too. “After GCSEs, I went straight into a modern apprenticeship studying business – this allowed me to go straight into a working environment whilst furthering my education.”
And those skills have been bolstered ever since, “I currently have my Transport Managers CPC, as part of our businesses Operators License. I also have my Class 1 licenses, but I use my ‘driver’ knowledge as a useful asset in planning now I’m office based.”
Finance Graduate Associate (3rd Year Placement)
Kulraj Singh Banwait – GXO
Role: Finance Graduate Associate (3rd Year Placement)
Those searching for a career in business often overlook the logistics industry, but not Kulraj. He chose GXO for his placement as part of a BA in Business Management, Accounting and Finance – in part because of the real-life experience the placement offered alongside completion of his professional accounting qualification.
The rotating placement has seen Kulraj experience multiple areas within GXO, but the highlight to date? “Taking up the responsibility of completing finances for five sites across the UK, including weekly P&L reporting, budgeting and forecasting.”
Kulraj lists a range of key skills and characteristics useful for someone in his current role. “Flexibility, of course, as well as the ability to work as a team player, and to meet deadlines. Adding value by engaging with key stakeholders is vital too.”
It’s all about “gaining business insight, not just in finance but wider business operations”. That insight comes alongside studying for a CIMA qualification, and no one day is the same. “It’s such a rewarding sector. I was always a good problem solver, but also a big fan of technology and innovation” GXO was such a good fit.”
To anyone else considering a similar opportunity in logistics, Kulraj has this to say: “It’s something different, with such a scope for career progression. There are so many diverse career paths you can take!” Sounds like many of us could take his career advice, and be happier for it.
Customer Fulfilment Centre Manager
Lucy Mackay – Tesco
Role: Customer Fulfilment Centre Manager
Lucy believes that the skills she gained at school and university have proven themselves to be incredibly transferable, setting her up perfectly for a career in the logistics industry.
Without the need to follow a specific educational route, or have decades of experience under her belt to make a difference, she’s excited about the skills she can continue to develop as her career within logistics progresses.
“The beauty of our industry is that it is open to all. The industry needs diverse problem solvers, and a workforce that can adapt and overcome challenges.”
Within her role as Customer Fulfilment Centre Manager for Tesco, Lucy thrives on the fact that no two days look the same. The fast-paced environment allows her to adapt to new challenges as she goes, constantly adding new strings to her bow.
The pace with which she’s been encouraged and supported to progress to her current role after just three short years with Tesco brings Lucy a lot of pride and satisfaction:
“As a young female within logistics, I’m running a customer fulfilment centre that services over 3,000 customers everyday and have the responsibility to ensure my 1,100 colleagues get home safely everyday.”
Lucy is keen to stress that her passion for her work and her drive to progress have been key to her progression: “There is huge opportunity for career growth within logistics.”
Customs Process Administrator
Neve O’Callaghan – Maersk
Role: Customs Process Administrator
Neve was at a point in her life when she wanted to further her career within an organisation that supports young people and loves to see them thrive. After being referred for her position by a family member, Neve quickly slipped into place amongst a team she now considers to be the best part of her job.
“What attracted me to the job was how everyone I spoke to who has worked for Maersk always had a positive experience.”
As a Customs Process Administrator, Neve’s role is to help complete the documents required for different types of cargo to enter and or leave the country. Her role requires excellent time management, reliability, and a drive to grasp the diverse opportunities that Maersk offers by the horns.
“There are no specific qualifications required for this Job. Just an individual that is willing to learn and adapt to what has been thrown their way. I think anyone can do well in this job as long as they have the right attitude.”
Neve has really enjoyed seeing herself grow from when she first started, to the position to where she is now, “My career highlight is probably seeing how much my confidence has grown, having come into this field without any prior knowledge.”
Assistant Finance Manager
Josh James – GXO
Role: Assistant Finance Manager
Josh was attracted to the GXO graduate scheme because logistics was new to him, and he was so excited to learn. Now working as Assistant Finance Manager, where he works to keep the GXO Milton Keynes site running smoothly, Josh first started out on the graduate scheme.
As part of the graduate scheme, Josh completed rotations of different teams to build his skillset.
First, as a Fixed Asset Assistant, he worked on creating CAPEX projects, fixed assets and their registers, and learned to report to the wider business. He then became a credit controller, taking on two ledgers of GXO customers.
“This gave me a good understanding of how large the logistics business is and a good overview of how many customers we serve. I managed to visit a number of sites in this placement, seeing the different challenges faced by each site.”
After just one year of his graduate scheme, Josh became an Assistant Finance Manager, and is currently working towards his level 7 CIMA chartership.
“GXO offers so many different qualifications, I am hoping to complete my CIMA soon so that I can build my development in other areas. For the future, I want to gain as much experience as possible. I don’t see myself moving to another sector as I feel like there is always something new to learn. CFO of GXO one day.”
A highlight for Josh is working and contributing as part of a wider team and GXO community. He loves being able to ask that burning question without worry, and is keen to stress that the support provided is fantastic.
“Working in logistics has been more interesting than I ever thought it could be. To someone considering a career in the industry, I’d say do it, there’s so many different career paths – there’s definitely something that you’ll love to do. Plus it’s secure, people will always need things moving!”