I am currently 24 years old and I was born in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. During my time at school, the advice on apprenticeships was limited – it just wasn’t something that was discussed in depth. So much so, that I never considering an apprenticeship as an option at all.
After completing my A levels, I did go on to university. However, I soon realised that the style of learning wasn’t for me and that it wasn’t the road I wanted to take. I started to explore alternative routes and consider which one would suit me best – one of the main things that stood out for me about apprenticeships is the fact you get hands-on learning as well as getting paid to learn.
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More inspiring apprentices: 'My apprenticeship got me on the career ladder'
I am currently employed by Sterling Pharma Solutions, where I am studying towards a Level 3 in supply chain practitioner (fast moving consumer goods). I’ve only been enrolled for a few weeks, but I’m looking forward to progressing and learning more about the different departments within the company.
So what are my initial expectations? Well, this apprenticeship is heavily weighted towards administrative duties and handling of paperwork. However, it quickly became apparent that the role includes many different elements that I hadn’t considered.
It was identified early that there would be a requirement to include forklift truck duties, which meant that I had to complete a counterbalance forklift truck qualification – and I am currently the only female forklift truck operator within the organisation.
The role also requires me to interact heavily with a variety of departments across the company. I have taken on the responsibility of liaising with external suppliers from our purchasing team when we have issues with deliveries and paperwork. My day-to-day duties begin with evaluating the available capacity in bulk storage tanks for expected deliveries that day, closely followed by a physical and electronic comparison of available storage locations within 2225 Warehouse areas, and the efficient and accurate booking in of raw materials and consumable goods into the company SAP system.
This includes ensuring the correct paperwork has been supplied, the goods are of the expected quality and the supplier is on our approved supplier list. Materials are then received into the SAP system and the package of information is transferred over to the warehouse technician for onward processing.
I get a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement from the role – which when coupled with the great team spirit and working environment leads to enjoyment and fulfilment each day. The team is led by my manager and his superior, who both began their careers in the same position as me. This is inspiring – it shows that hard work and determination can get you anywhere.
I have a clearly defined learning structure and a career path already mapped out. My friends at university don’t – and many of them end up with the qualification but in unrelated careers with a financial burden.
When I attended the interview for this position I said that in five years time, I could see myself managing the Warehouse. I stand by this statement and am determined to achieve my goal.
I can’t speak for all apprenticeships, but I would say that the programme within Sterling Pharma Solutions Limited has opened so many doors for me. I’d recommend to any young adult leaving school to seriously consider applying to become an apprentice.
Jessica Dobie is studying towards a Level 3 in Supply Chain Practitioner at Sterling Pharma Solutions Ltd. Her story is part of the #InspiringApprentices campaign.