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 develop their careers in APUC and/or in client institutions. The scheme has been running for many years with all trainees successfully employed in procurement management roles.

We are currently recruiting for the next Supply Chain Management Trainee Programme that is due to start at the beginning of September. Please head over to our careers page to find all the details.

Comments from our former trainees (2013-2020)

Andrew Young
Supply Chain Manager at the University
of the Highlands and Islands
Laura Muir
Supply Chain Manager at Napier University

Throughout the duration of the APUC Graduate Trainee Programme, I have been afforded the opportunity to complete different placements and consequently gain experience of different procurement environments. My first placement was in the procurement department at Glasgow Caledonian University, where I learned how to undertake spend analysis activities and was also given the opportunity to assist the development of tender documentation and shadow Procurement Managers at various meetings such as contract management, consensus and debrief meetings. My second placement was in the Information Services department at APUC. During this placement I worked on the development and publication of an OJEU Framework which was invaluable in terms of learning how to conduct pre-market engagement with suppliers and working with various stakeholders to develop tender documentation which reflected the requirements of different institutions. I am now working in a split role at New College Lanarkshire and the University of Glasgow. These placements have provided me with a further opportunity to take the lead on various procurement exercises such as Mini-Competitions and Site Notices. Throughout all of my different placements I have been fortunate to work in a very supportive and pleasant environment with colleagues who have supported my development. A further benefit I have experienced is the support given by APUC in terms of professional development, where APUC have supported me towards the completion of CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply.

Having graduated with a degree in Physiology and Sports Science, and then working for Next Retail as a store manager before going to Virgin Atlantic to work as long haul cabin crew for several years, Procurement was a completely different direction for me! The APUC Graduate Trainee Programme has allowed me to gain an in-depth insight into several different aspects of the sector and develop a wide skill set as a result of undertaking 4 different placements throughout the programme. My first placement at Forth Valley College and my final placement at Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College gave me great experience in working within a team in a College/ University setting, and I was able to participate in various tender exercises as well as Risk Analysis and stakeholder engagement. Through my second placement in eSolutions I was able to gain a better understanding of all the processes and systems that the sector use and was able to put the knowledge in practice when I moved into my next placement. I also completed a placement in the Estates team, where I was able to take part in an OJEU tender and attend various Contract Management meetings, which were really interesting and beneficial for my future development. I have also been working towards my CIPS level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply supported by APUC which has allowed me to improve my knowledge in the sector further. I have really enjoyed my time on the Graduate programme and the support I have received has been fantastic throughout, allowing me to gain confidence for my future within the sector.

Alice Ng
Supply Chain Manager in Collaborative Contracting
Mark Eardley
Supply Chain Manager at the University
of Edinburgh
Kirstie Peffers
Category Manager at the University
of Strathclyde

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.

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.

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.

Louise Levens
Deputy Head of Category for Estates and Facilities
Ricarda Bieke
Head of Responsible Procurement
Kate Murray
Head of Procurement at Queen Margaret University

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.

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.

Victoria Kulczycki
Director of Procurement at University of Edinburgh
Ester Vasallo
Head of Procurement 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.

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.