Supply Chain Management Trainee Scheme

APUC runs a Supply Chain Management Development Programme which aims to develop future management level procurement professionals with the potential to further their careers in APUC and / or in client institutions.The scheme has been running over 6 years very successfully, with all graduates completing the programme going on to procurement roles with APUC and/or the sector.We will be recruiting for our 5th intake of graduates in early 2019.

During the 18 month programme, trainees undertake a series of placements in key areas including APUCs Collaborative Procurement and eSolutions departments, plus external placements within Universities and Colleges.

Trainees undertake internal and external training as required to assist in their development during the Programme and also commence studies towards Professional Membership of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (MCIPS).

The programme aims to develop the individuals to a professional procurement competency level, therefore providing the successful applicants with excellent job prospects on completion, having gathered experience in a broad range of procurement areas.

The programme is open to applicants with a suitable qualification at HND level or above. Candidates must have a keen interest and knowledge of sustainability, social and environmental responsibility issues and a desire to work within the Higher and Further Education Sectors..

Comments from our fourth group of trainees (Nov 17 to May 19)

Alice Ng

Having graduated from my MSc International Relations I worked in a variety of fields, including as a Purchasing assistant in a fashion retail company in London, where I discovered my interest in supply chain management. After returning from a year volunteering and travelling in Asia, I applied for the APUC Supply Chain Management Development Programme for the opportunity to advance my career in procurement while engaging my passion for sustainability. The programme offers a wide variety of training through rotational placements, in APUC's main offices and in universities and colleges, alongside the opportunity to study for a professional qualification (CIPS). Moreover, the length of the programme (18 months) enables me to learn, practice and actually take a responsible role in each of the placements. So far, I have had a great learning experience - first working two months with the eSolutions team, understanding the different tools used within APUC and across the sector. I also completed a six-month placement at the University of Dundee which enabled me to work in the challenging context of a university, dealing with different stakeholders and answering to a wide variety of procurement needs. I am now finalising a placement within the Professional Services category in Stirling. It has been a very interesting way for me to understand how frameworks are developed and implemented for later use by the universities and colleges. I want to devote my career to ethical procurement and learning from the APUC traineeship is an outstanding chance to build knowledge of best practice with a critical view of how to adopt more ethical, sustainable and responsible approaches to procurement.
Mark Eardley

Having studied Business Management at university, I gained an understanding of supply chain management and sustainability - with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility. Understanding that a sustainable supply chain can impact positively on various types of stakeholders and the environment inspired me to become involved in public sector procurement. I was attracted to the idea of having the opportunity to contribute towards CSR in supply chains; with the chance to learn on the job through placements; and through working towards gaining the CIPS qualification, with 4 exams undertaken so far. I have had the opportunity to work alongside colleagues on a broad range of projects at Edinburgh Napier University and Fife College - here I gained knowledge from colleagues with varying levels of experience. My placement in eSolutions included training on various sector-wide systems such as Hunter and PCS-T, which has been particularly useful when working in institutions, and within my current role in the Estates and Facilities Collaborative team. I have also attended various formal training day arranged by APUC; and attended several conferences and networking events. I am looking forward to continuing my current placement, with the goal of securing a more permanent position within APUC/affiliates upon completion of the graduate programme.
Kirstie Peffers

Having Graduated with a degree in Criminology I worked as a Finance Assistant at West Lothian College where I had exposure to Scottish Procurement Regulations. The APUC Supply Chain Management Traineeship provided the opportunity to utilise my experience and build a career in an area I was interested in, in an organisation with strong corporate and social values. I spent my first six months working in the APUC collaborative team for Information Services. This gave me the opportunity to contribute to the initial research phase, strategy development and creation of tender documents. The team were very supportive and encouraging. I then went on to spend a further six months in the University of Strathclyde. At the University I was given the opportunity to work on a wide range of mini competitions and open procurements and trusted to work independently on those where I felt I could. However, there were also lots of experienced members of staff to provide support whenever it was needed. My third placement was spent with the eSolutions team understanding the different tools used across the sector such as Hunter and PCS-T. The skills I learnt in this placement can be used when working in the collaborative team or an institution. I am currently about to start my final placement which will be split between New College Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire college. I am looking forward to the challenge of a split role and getting to understand how procurement works in a college environment. My current goal is to gain as much experience as possible in my final placement and continue to work towards completion of my CIPS qualification.

Comments from our third group of trainees (Oct 16 to April 18)

Louise Levens
Supply Chain Manager


People always say you should find a job you enjoy, where you never get the Sunday night feeling dreading the week ahead and look forward to going to work. This is how I feel being on the Graduate traineeship at APUC. I applied for the graduate traineeship whilst completing my degree in Social and Public Policy at Glasgow University. I was fortunate enough to be successful in gaining the traineeship before I even graduated. Although my degree is not directly linked to procurement, it taught me how to engage and understand policy documents and the impact policy can have in practice. Training is split into four placements, each placement having its own specific focus within procurement. For example, working in E-Solutions involved an overview of all programmes used throughout the company and data analysis. Whereas, my current placement, at Glasgow Caledonian University, involves engaging with stakeholders and preparing tenders for the University. Training so far has been excellent and I have built on a number of skills such as; ICT, team work, organisational, time-keeping but most importantly is the ability to multi-task. In just under a year, I now have a working knowledge of procurement which means that my confidence in the workplace continues to grow. One aspect of the traineeship which is good is the continuing professional development afforded to me through working towards CIPS. Although working full-time and studying is very different from university, the knowledge you gain on a daily basis helps you with the knowledge required to sit the professional exams. Throughout the graduate programme, there are also opportunities to meet with the whole company at APUC Open Forums and Away Days. Aside from networking opportunities, this is also a good social event where you can spend time with colleagues from institutions other than those which are part of your placements. One of the things I am most proud of so far, is the Away Day event that the graduates organised, where I used skills I wasn't even aware that I had! It's a brilliant feeling when you see your planning and hard work come together, culminating in a great company event. Every line manager I have worked with has been extremely helpful and set targets for me during my time with them. They have been supportive in a number of areas and encouraging at all times whilst I am trying to find my feet in the workplace. Even though I had no previous knowledge about procurement, I have found it be an exciting and ever evolving career path where no two days are the same. APUC continue to guide me through this programme with support and knowledge at all stages of my development.

Comments from our second group of trainees (Oct 14 to Apr 16)

Victoria Kulczycki
Head of Procurement at Heriot-Watt University

Gemma Stenhouse
Supply Chain manager - Flexible Resource (East)

Ester Vasallo
Supply Chain Manager at Forth Valley College


Having developed a core interest in commerce, business development and supply chain management upon graduation, procurement has the perfect career path for me. The APUC Supply Chain Management Development Programme has provided me with an extensive amount of knowledge and development opportunities in procurement to prepare me to work in the sector. My time in the programme has been challenging, yet very rewarding in terms of my professional development as I have gained a thorough understanding of procurement at both an institution and consortium level. I have greatly enjoyed my time working with APUC and the HE and FE institutions and I have gained invaluable experience to prepare me for a career as a Procurement Manager.


After securing a BSc (Hons) in Geography I applied for the traineeship with APUC because it offered me the opportunity to gain experience and training in a profession where I could apply my interest in Sustainability whilst challenging myself with the diverse roles found in each of the rotational placements. Having completed my placements in Collaborative Procurement, eSolutions, and an Institution, I have gained a good understanding of the foundations of procurement and have had the opportunity to work on all stages of the tender process with the help and support of a lovely team


What first attracted me to apply for the trainee programme was the opportunity to utilise my knowledge in sustainability to make a positive impact in the public sector and also being able to gain a CIPS qualification. Working for APUC has helped me to gain knowledge and experience in public procurement through attending training courses and by working alongside experienced colleagues in a range of departments in APUC and higher and further education institutions. It has been an extremely positive experience and I look forward to the next step in my career.

Comments from our first group of trainees (Apr 2013 to Jan 2015)

Ricarda Bieke
Supply Chain Manager, College Services East

Kate Murray
Supply Chain Manager, ERPT at Edinburgh Napier University

Matteo Linzi
Moved to Procurement Manager role in the private sector


Having been interested in Supply Chains and Procurement as an area to apply my Environmental Management and Sustainable Development background onto, I find the time as a Supply Chain Management Trainee at APUC a perfect way to learn the procurement basics while getting involved in making the sector's supply chain more sustainable. The change of tasks and settings by going through different placements within APUC and institutions make the learning process a challenging yet rewarding one.


Within the Development Programme so far, I have worked in two different category teams (Information and Communication Technology and Laboratory and Professional Services) within the Operational Procurement department at APUC's main office in Edinburgh, and in the Professional and Campus Services category team at the University of Edinburgh. Within these category areas, I have worked on the full spectrum of the tender process from, in the initial stages, research and strategy through to, at the end, evaluation and implementation. My professional and academic interest in the social and environmental aspects of sustainable supply chain management attracted me to the Development Programme at APUC. As my background is not in public procurement, I think an advantage of this programme is the opportunity to try out different procurement specialisms both at APUC and within an institution - as well as operational procurement, there is the opportunity to work in College Services, e-Solutions and on projects around Supply Chain Sustainability.


I joined APUC in September 2013 after having secured an MA in Economic and Social History and an LLM in Global Environmental and Climate Change Law. I applied for the position within APUC because it offered the opportunity to kick start a professional career and operate in a particularly diverse and challenging environment, being given the opportunity to progress through a professional qualification (CIPS) also appealed to me. Additionally, the rotational aspect of the programme also interested me as it provides hand-on experience in a variety of areas, allowing me to gain a breadth of sector specific procurement knowledge.
Since joining APUC I have had the opportunity to experience and gain a good understanding of procurement in the HE/FE sector from a variety of perspectives, through placements with the E-Solutions, College Services and Operational Procurement teams. The knowledge I gained during these placements was further developed and put into practise during my six month placement with the Procurement Department at the University of Dundee. During this placement I was involved in a variety of procurement activities, ranging from laboratory furniture to an IT solution for the Farr Institute Scotland. My final placement, at the University of Aberdeen, will allow me to put into practice the skills and knowledge I have gained thus far.
I have really enjoyed my time on the Supply Chain Management Programme with APUC. I have been involved in a wide range of projects which has allowed me to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and learn from lots of people experienced in the role. My time here has been challenging and rewarding, with great support throughout and I look forward to the range of options that will be available to me at the end of the programme.
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