"Joined Samworth Brothers in August 2003, apprentice since January 2018."

Why did you choose an apprenticeship with Samworth Brothers? What attracted you most?

I’ve been with Samworth Brothers for over 15 years, having recently changed function from Engineering to Purchasing. I have a lot of experience but was lacking in Purchasing qualifications. Therefore to progress within that function I felt I needed some formal training.

Tell us about the scheme that you enjoy?

I enjoy seeing how my everyday experience fits into the theory, whilst learning different subjects and putting more structure around the activities that I do. It’s also great to see people from elsewhere in the Group and in other businesses too. I find myself asking them endless questions about how their site works.

My apprenticeship incorporates the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) level 4 diploma with the addition of the first module of level 5. Within this I have project work and a presentation. I enjoy that I constantly utilise the material in my ordinary working day.

What does a week look like for a Samworth Brothers apprentice?

At the moment it is exam period, so I spend one day a week off site, classroom learning. The other four days are back to my role as Group Indirects Buyer. I currently spend my evenings and weekends (when I’m not running around after the kids), doing essays and past papers so that I am fully prepared for the exam. I really want to get the most out of this apprenticeship.

You became an apprentice later on in your career, what made you do this and would you recommend to others?

I have started this late in my career because I have changed my career path. I worked in engineering for about 15 years. I gained a level of responsibility that gave me the opportunity to run budgets, contracts, inventory and systems and realised I enjoyed it. Therefore, when the new group purchasing role came up that seemed to incorporate a lot of that, I thought I’d give it a go and, to my surprise, got the role. It incorporates a lot of what I used to do on a single site but I can look at things strategically, group wide. A change in function has required me to learn some new skills and the apprenticeship will help me do that.

I would not recommend leaving it 20 years before you start doing exams again though!