What happens before a company delivers a finished product or service to a customer? Well, a lot, and it’s called the ‘supply chain’.
The company might need to source materials, work with vendors and manage a production line before delivering the finished product. Some businesses have hundreds of moving parts, including distribution companies and warehouses, so supply chain management must be a well-oiled operation.
As with loads of careers, it’s possible to get your foot in the door of the supply chain world with an apprenticeship. We’ve done some digging and pulled together our ultimate guide for budding supply chain apprentices, so keep reading to find out what kinds of jobs are available and how to get them!
Jobs in supply chain management
Lots of companies function by working with third-party suppliers, and a procurement manager is a person that coordinates everything and chooses which partners to use.
A supplier or vendor can include a whole range of things, from the materials used to construct a building to the software and sellers you use to get products out to the world.
A logistics manager’s role is to ensure everything gets from A to B on time, including overseeing storing, transporting and delivering items.
Logistics can be very complex as you’ll need to set up shipping schedules, organise drivers, check warehouse inventories and ensure safe transportation.
‘Operations Manager’ is a broad term that differs depending on each business. Typically, this role involves a lot of planning, strategy and organisational skills.
You’ll create strategies to help businesses run smoothly at every stage, from production to quality control.
Supply Chain Coordinator
As a supply chain manager, you’ll sort of do a bit of everything – logistics, quality control, procurement and production. You’ll be responsible for turning your company’s ideas and plans into successful products and services.
As you advance in your career, you can become a supply chain manager, and if you’re lucky work your way up to become Head of Supply Chain.
Supply chain apprenticeships
Here’s four top companies where you can start your supply chain career, with entry-level intermediate opportunities, all the way up to degree apprenticeships.
Technology and aerospace company BAE Systems has intermediate, advanced, higher and degree Supply Chain and Procurement Apprenticeships that will teach you what you need to know about planning, logistical process, scheduling, buying and everything in between.
You’ll get hands-on experience and the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the leading supply chain professionals in their field.
Their apprenticeship window runs from November to February each year, which means they are actively recruiting at the moment – find out more and apply.
Did you know that Rolls-Royce does more than just luxury cars? If you apply for the Supply Chain Management Degree Apprenticeship, you’ll be in with a chance to earn £19,000 per year while learning from the top engineers in the country.
The scheme gives budding supply chain professionals experience to the full breadth of Rolls-Royce’s global supply chain as you take on placements in different areas of our business. If that wasn’t enough, by the end of your apprenticeship you’ll have earned a (debt-free) university degree in Management and Leadership.
The Supply Chain and Logistics Degree Apprenticeship by Jaguar Land Rover comes with a hefty pay packet (£24,480) and a wealth of opportunities in logistics, product launch, supply chain planning and more.
You can pursue a 3-year degree apprenticeship with L’Oréal or complete an 18-month programme to graduate with an NVQ in Supply Chain Management. The salary for both is £18,000 per year.
In terms of academic achievements, you’ll need five GCSEs in grades 9 to 4 to apply for the above apprenticeships. Some courses also look for candidates with two or three A Levels or the equivalent BTEC (Level 3), so carefully check each course’s requirements.
Working in supply chain operations can be quite stressful, but don’t worry – your apprenticeship program will teach you valuable strategies for dealing with high-pressure environments. To have a shot at one of these competitive courses, you’ll need to have excellent organisational and analytical thinking skills and work well with other teammates. These are often called ‘soft skills’.
If you get an interview, the course will ask for proof of your soft skills. But how can you prove that you work well in a team or are self-motivated?
The best way to do this is by engaging in extra-curricular activities or taking on extra responsibilities at your school or college. For example, if you are the team captain at your local football club, this demonstrates your ability to take on a leadership role and work effectively in a group. Speak to your teachers or the person in charge at your club to see how you can get more involved in preparation for your apprenticeship application.
Work in any industry, for any company
Here’s a fun fact – almost every medium/large company has a complex supply chain, meaning you can work in various industries and countries. Securing an apprenticeship is simply the first step in your journey.
For more information about Supply chain (and adjacent careers) check out our logistics and distribution industry guide.
Relax. We’ll send the jobs to you.
Reckon you know what you want to do, but can’t find the perfect role? Most companies hire their apprentices in a ‘recruitment window’. This means many great jobs are only available for a short time once or twice each year.
Sign up for our job alerts service, and we’ll send you any jobs that fit your search criteria.