Joining us in 2017 as a Purchasing Assistant, Chloe has completed her Level 3 Business Admin apprenticeship and is currently studying for her CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply which she hopes to complete in May this year.
- What made you want to study an apprenticeship over another type of course?
When I opened by university acceptance letter, I wasn’t overjoyed – it just didn’t appeal to me, so I declined the offer and continued working in my part-time job to give me time to decide what my next steps would be.
I realised that I had a drive to be financially independent but also expand my knowledge through formal learning, so decided to start looking for apprenticeships. When the one at Waterstons came up I applied straight away and knew that this was the apprenticeship for me.
- What attracted you to the courses you chose?
When I started working in 2017 there were no apprenticeships for purchasing specifically, so I was put onto a business admin course. Although not directly related, it really helped for the admin tasks in my role (of which there are many!).
As I became more confident and took on more in my role, I was promoted to Procurement Officer, and I wanted to widen my knowledge and skills relating to the role. I wanted to start studying again and found the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), which now offers apprenticeships, and with my experience and previous qualification, I could enter at Level 4.
- How does Waterstons support your apprenticeship studies?
Waterstons, and particularly my team, have been hugely supportive through both of my apprenticeships, making sure I’m covered when I have study days and have allowed me extra days off before exams to make sure I have the best opportunities to study and pass my exams or meet deadlines.
- What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your apprenticeship?
Both of my apprenticeships have given me so much knowledge and confidence to be able to apply to my role, but most importantly is that I’m capable of anything if I put my mind to it.
- What has your apprenticeship enabled you to do that you otherwise might not have been able to?
Most of the people I study with are in similar roles but in different companies and industries, so having that peer support and insight has allowed me to see scenarios from different perspectives and gain totally unique insight.
- How has working at the same time as studying supported your learning?
In both of my apprenticeships I have needed to take real life work scenarios and apply them to theory. This has given me the chance to understand more, leading to me being more confident in day-to-day tasks.
I have just completed my end point assessment where I picked a project and wrote a report. I took the lead in the implementation of the new Waterstons PO System so this was perfect to write about.
- How has working at the same time as studying supported you in your job?
I have been able to take the theories and apply it in my day-to-day role, which has led me to not only have the background knowledge but understand why things are important.
- What are your future career plans?
After a break from studying when I complete my Level 4, I may move onto CIPS Level 5 in Supply and eventually Level 6, meaning I would become charted in Procurement and Supply.
My professional goal is to take over the role of Purchasing Manager when Ray retires – so I’m learning as much as I can in the meantime.
- How does Waterstons support employee learning in general?
I have taken part in other courses and plan to in future as well, as this is actively encouraged to widen my knowledge and gain expertise in not only hard skills, but soft skills too.
- What would you say to anyone looking at studying an apprenticeship?
Absolutely do it, even if you think you’re too old! I am currently the youngest (25) on my CIPS course and have learned so much from the people I study with. It’s a perfect way to learn, earn and make new friends.