I joined the Pathways to Procurement Graduate Scheme after completing a Marketing degree at Lancaster University where I first gained an interest in contracting and negotiations. I applied to the scheme due to the excellent training that the CIPS Level 4 course would offer and the opportunity to learn about the valuable services the NHS offer. I was thrilled to hear that I had been offered a role within the North of England Commercial Procurement Collaborative, which is based in Sheffield.
My experience of the scheme involved a series of rotations throughout the organisation. This included the NOE CPC Hub Procurement Operations team, Hotel Services, Marketing & Communications and category experience; mainly within Facilities Management, Property and Business Services and Human Resources and People. The wide variety of rotations allowed me to gain practical procurement experience which aligned well with my CIPS modules, whilst also gaining a holistic view of the organisation.
Throughout my graduate scheme, I was offered a wide range of guidance from my team. I had weekly catch ups with my line manager Caroline Brash and also support from my mentor Annie Patton. This was invaluable to my experience at NOE CPC as it gave me the opportunity to ask questions and further enhance my learning. I also had the privilege to feedback on my experiences and NOE CPC tailored the scheme to suit where my interests were beginning to develop. For example, I was able to work with our supplier relationships team to learn about how we manage suppliers within the NHS and how partnerships can be fostered.
I am now a Procurement Support Officer working within the HR & People Category and I am continuing to learn and face new challenges every day. I enjoy that each day brings something different to my procurement experience and I feel very supported by the team around me. I have also been given the opportunity to explore new interests including sustainability and social value as well as work on my personal development through speaking at conferences and attending various networking events.
I am very glad I applied to the scheme and I encourage graduates, regardless of their degree or background to apply. The scheme provides the teaching and support to become a valuable member of the NHS.