As a result of its long-term drive to recruit the next generation of logisticians, Palletways UK is celebrating a decade of apprenticeships, having welcomed 44 apprentices into the business since 2012.
As part of its ongoing commitment to attract new talent into the network to help strengthen and future-proof the supply chain industry, Palletways is urging youngsters to consider one of its many apprenticeships in IT, marketing, HR, customer service, driving, team leader and operations management, across its UK network, including its owned depots in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and London depots and head office in Fradley near Lichfield.
End qualifications vary from a Level 2 Warehouse apprenticeship to a Level 7 Senior Leadership apprenticeship, with many Palletways apprentices choosing to stay in the business long after their apprenticeship ends.
Jennifer Mosley-Bradley is Palletways UK’s head of HR. She comments: “We recognise the importance of apprenticeships in recruiting and retaining talent for our business, valuing the flexibility of hands-on training and the chance to put skills into practice immediately. Palletways is fully supportive of its apprentices and their learning allowing time during work hours to complete studies and attend day release or, week block release at college.”
Over the last ten years, the IT department has doubled in size and employed seven apprentices. Two have moved into management positions and a further two have seen promotions into technical and project management roles. Ryan Lewis, who lives in Burntwood, joined Palletways as an IT Apprentice working as a First Line Support Engineer in Fradley. A decade on, he remains part of the IT team and has progressed to a Junior Infrastructure Analyst.
He says: “I knew after doing my A-Levels at sixth form that university wasn’t for me. I wanted to work, and I’d always been interesting in computing, so I looked for IT apprenticeships that were available near me. At my interview it was clear the company would be good to work for, being Europe's largest pallet network with multiple sites in the UK and abroad, as I’d get job variety and career opportunities to grow and develop.
“Joining aged eighteen as the company’s first and only IT apprentice was a big thing for me personally, but I was fully supported by management and my colleagues, and I learnt a lot through on-the-job and external training. I progressed from first-line support to handling more complex technical issues helping colleagues, members, and customers to solve their problems. I’ve had the opportunity to work at Palletways Italy in Bologna which was great fun, and I was also an integral part of the set up for Palletways Bristol when it launched. It’s great to be able to travel to our different depots and hubs and meet team members in person, as well as support them remotely.”
The IT team provides 24/7 support to some 700 employees across 7 locations, as well as to the 120 independent transport providers that are part of the Palletways UK network and their customers.
One such location is Fradley, where Aaron Cooke, Hub Operations Manager Days, began his career nine years ago as an apprentice trainee forklift truck operative. He said: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school. I completed one year of a forensic science course and another year in animal care at college, but neither were really for me. I then saw an apprenticeship advertised by Palletways for a forklift truck driver which led to me joining the warehouse team, getting an NVQ Level 5 in Warehousing and a full-time job.”
Aaron continues: “Palletways has been hugely supportive of my career and development. I spent five years as a driver and a FLT assessor, and then moved into the office as a supervisor and an assistant manager. I was promoted recently to my current role where I manage the hub day shift, including, staff, vehicles, and operations.
“More than 600 vehicles pass through the hub daily containing approximately 25,000 pallets, which we unload and reload using 80 forklift trucks, so good supervision, site management and health & safety are key to everything running smoothly, both day and night.”
Palletways offers apprentices a valuable insight into how its operation works from an office and administration point of view too, providing a front row understanding of the decisions it makes regarding operational planning and customer service.
UK Corporate Sales Customer Service Assistant Juliet Cox has worked at Palletways for five years, joining in 2017 as an apprentice. Her time in the department has seen her gain experience and confidence in different administrative areas, taking on increasing levels of responsibility.
Juliet says: “I was 22 years old and working in a warehouse near Tamworth when I saw an advert for Palletways’ apprenticeships. To move from warehousing into an office-based job you often needed prior experience, but the apprenticeship allowed me to gain that on the job, with an NVQ level 3 qualification at the end, so it seemed ideal.
“My first year was a mixture of work and college. My tutor visited me every week and I went to college in five blocks of 1-2 weeks at a time. My manager was very supportive allowing me time during the working day to complete my assessments and get my NVQ. I’ve worked in all areas of customer service over the last five years, assisting with key customers. I helped create a booking process for one depot in Coventry which has since been implemented across other Palletways depots, which was a great achievement for me to make a real impact on the business.”
It’s a strong guiding principal for Palletways to employ staff who display potential to be an asset and provide a career path for them to make a real impact on the business.
Jennifer adds: “The knowledge and skills that apprentices learn during their training are essential to keep ideas fresh and progressive. Palletways can proudly say it’s an investor in people in the truest sense of the word by fully utilising the apprenticeship system. Our continuing commitment to apprenticeships represents our response to the company’s ongoing growth and investment in our people, who are our priority.
“School leavers who are undecided about their next steps can consider the apprenticeship route rather than a traditional undergraduate programme or other routes. Apprentices have a valuable role in shaping the future of logistics and bringing fresh, new talent into the industry.”
To find out more about available apprenticeships contact firstname.lastname@example.org