An Apprenticeship in Procurement and Supply with Nicola Johnson

In 2022, Aspire Procurement Training became a main provider for delivering apprenticeships in procurement and supply. This week, we sit down with Nicola Johnson who has completed the apprenticeship, to find out what she gets up to in her role, how the apprenticeship has benefitted her and what she enjoyed most about it.

Tell us about your current role and organisation
Playdale Playgrounds Ltd is a private sector business which manufactures outdoor play equipment. We provide equipment for UK installations and export into 52 countries! At Playdale, my job title is ‘Procurement Lead’ and I am responsible for 74 stock suppliers and managing their performance through key performance indicators. A large part of my role is to order materials and expediate these orders, ensuring that the ‘5 rights of procurement’ are reached. In addition to these responsibilities, I also manage budgets and report into board members.

Why did you want to take an apprenticeship?

I wanted to take an apprenticeship in procurement and supply to gain the essential skills and knowledge I needed for my job role within Playdale. I had actually worked in the Finance department for 18 years prior to starting my role as a procurement lead and I wanted to learn how to use tools and skills to strengthen our supply chain. Throughout the apprenticeship, you develop relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours which are gained through a combination of off-the-job training and experience in the workplace.

What did you like most about the apprenticeship?
I really liked the syllabus. In the Level 4 apprenticeship in procurement and supply, the first 15 months is studying the Level 4 Diploma which consists of 8 modules and 8 exams. All of the modules were beneficial to my role in procurement and Aspire ensured that I passed each exam before moving on to the next module so the journey itself was pieced together brilliantly.  

How has the apprenticeship helped you today in your career?

I use The Kraljic Portfolio Purchasing Model in my everyday role, a model which the CIPS Level 4 Diploma taught me. Not only this, throughout the apprenticeship I learnt how to identify risk and put in place dual sourcing which certainly helped with future proofing our supply chain.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship in procurement and if so, what advice would you give to other students?
Absolutely! With an apprenticeship in procurement and supply, you need to complete an End Point Assessment which consists of a project report and presentation. My advice would be to apply your learning! The project was challenging but it is a great opportunity to put your learning into practice. I also developed a new skill creating the presentation! Overall, I felt supported throughout my journey as an apprentice and it is a journey I’d recommend to anyone.

An apprenticeship in procurement and supply is an exciting option – employees get hands-on training and also the chance to put their knowledges, skills and behaviours into practice.

Want to undertake an apprenticeship in procurement and supply like Nicola? Apprenticeships are available to all employees of all ages who work within procurement or supply chain roles and want to develop their knowledge and skills and gain the valuable CIPS qualification. For more insight into our apprenticeships, please call 0808 231 2477 or contact us here.

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