Our people make UK SBS a great place to work
Our people make us who we are now and are fundamental to our vision to deliver the highest standard of public sector business services. We value the talent, diversity and passion they bring to work every day and the part they play in delivering excellence for our clients. Meet some our people and find out what they value about working for us.
Being supported to reach your potential
Mellissa joined us in 2012 as a Procurement Administrator and progressed to Head of Procurement - Scientific & Contracted Research within 6 years. Her desire to learn, commitment and talent were recognised early, supported and developed. She led the Common Goods and Services team, comprising 15 people and 14 sub-categories, and took the opportunity with her recent promotion to broaden her skills and experience within the Research Procurement team.
After graduation, I was looking into potential career options and was attracted to procurement as it seemed to offer the variety I was looking for and the opportunity of a career for life. I came to UK SBS with the desire to learn and was prepared to work hard to learn everything I could about procurement.
I’ve been supported in developing my professional and personal skills through mentoring and coaching. My managers recognised how I learn best, have given me the confidence to progress and are available to give advice. UK SBS enrolled me on the MCIPS qualification which I completed in 2016 and has boosted my professional competencies.
Every day brings a new challenge and opportunity to learn something about procurement, which I love. We're a close knit and diverse team and proactively share ideas and experiences to deliver our best
Public sector procurement can provide a lifelong career where you never stop learning and developing. I would definitely recommend procurement as a career choice. UK SBS is an excellent place to build your skills and experience - there's a positive vibe in the working environment and opportunities to develop across multiple specialisms and progress are regularly available. I’m confident that the future direction of the department will increase the volume of work coming through the teams and lead to more opportunity.
If I could offer any advice to someone starting out it would be - start as you mean to go on...be motivated, committed, grab every learning opportunity, and use your manager and the people around you to learn. The more you apply yourself, the more you will learn.
Getting real experience helped me secure a permanent role after university
Rhedyn joined UK SBS in 2016 for a placement year as part of her BA (Hons) Logistics and Supply Chain Management course at the University of South Wales (USW). We have a long-standing partnership with USW and regularly have students working alongside our experienced procurement professionals. We are passionate about developing and retaining our next generation of talent so the partnership is mutually beneficial. The placement provided Rhedyn with an opportunity to demonstrate her talent and she’s now a permanent member of our team.
I joined the Construction & Facilities Management team in Procurement. It was a bit daunting at first, Construction & FM was alien to me and I was surrounded by colleagues with a lot of industry knowledge and public sector procurement experience. Even though I had been studying this for 2 years, I knew I had a lot to learn and the real experience was my way of learning. It didn’t take me long to settle in - the team were welcoming and had prepared a development plan for me. I started small – assisting on tender processes and built up to managing my own tenders of differing values and complexity.
I enjoyed being part of this team and learnt so much in the 12 months, I came back in my final year of University and joined the team permanently. Since then I’ve been promoted to Category Specialist and continue to develop myself.
UK SBS really supports the development of its people
I feel like I’ve come a long way since my placement – personally and professionally – and with the support of my colleagues and the company I’m well on my way to being a procurement professional as I complete my Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply qualification and put that theory into action. I couldn’t have asked for a better start in my career and I’ve been able to achieve this close to home.
What have been your highlights
I’ve developed my analytical skills by doing supply market analysis and supporting colleagues with procurement strategy. I really love the variety and challenges of project work. I’ve been working on several exciting construction projects and procuring facility management services for UK Research & Innovation and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The collaboration with different colleagues and clients has given me a great insight into the different roles and viewpoints in the procurement process and I feel much more confident in taking a lead role in delivering these projects.
Considering a career in public sector procurement?
I think procurement is a career where you never stop learning and challenging yourself and that’s part of the reason I started this journey. Procurement is a fast-growing profession and comes with a high degree of responsibility. The variety of work is attractive – no project or sector is the same – so you will always have new challenges.
If I could offer any advice to someone starting out it would be to prepare, listen and develop while taking time to understand the dynamics of your area. This will help you to build relationships, not just within this organisation, but across government organisations.
Professional qualifications such as Chartered Institute Procurement & Supply will provide you with a foundation for your career and is a desirable qualification to have – but as I discovered there is no substitute for real experience.
Undecided about an apprenticeship?
Just one month in, Chi, one of our latest cohort of apprentices, is enthusiastic about the benefits that an apprenticeship offers to young people starting out in their career. Our apprenticeship programme provides an opportunity to gain 15 months experience in HR, Finance and Procurement administration alongside studying for an NVQ level 2 in Business Administration and to discover where your strengths and interests lie.
Choosing an apprenticeship
An apprenticeship was a positive choice for me. The opportunity to earn while studying for a widely recognised business qualification at New College, Swindon and getting valuable experience in the workplace was attractive. University wasn’t a viable option for me and the thought of racking up huge debts and still no guarantee of a job wasn’t appealing. I watched my classmates enrol in universities all over the world and I decided to shift gears to find my own path. It became clear that apprenticeships offered the right balance between learning, work and wages. I didn’t have a clear plan for my career when I left school and the opportunity to explore a variety of career options made me choose UK SBS.
I joined Procurement for my first rotation and will be providing administration support to the procurement teams for the next 5 months. I’m still settling in, but my early experiences are really positive and I’m ready to learn everything I can about the industry and grab every opportunity to develop my skills. I have a clear programme for the next 15 months, but also an opportunity to personalise my learning plan in discussion with my line manager to support my aspirations. I have a feeling that my first rotation will be the career I choose to follow, but I want to remain open minded and get the most out of each experience – it will be interesting to see if that’s the direction I take at the end of my programme.
What are you enjoying so far?
There’s so much to learn and it takes time to settle and get to know my colleagues – just remembering everyone’s name is challenging in itself. I’ve been made to feel welcome by everyone I’ve met so far and I’m looking forward to building relationships with the variety of people here. I think it’s a really important skill in a customer focused business and working with different people will make the day more interesting.
Moving on from my apprenticeship
Tom joined UK SBS as a Finance Apprentice in 2013 and on completion of his apprenticeship successfully secured a role with our Procurement team. Six years and several promotions later, Tom shares his experience of the apprenticeship and starting his career with UK SBS.
Choosing an apprenticeship
I’m a real champion for apprenticeships….looking back it was the right choice for me and I’m confident that having such a variety of experience around me and grabbing every opportunity to learn something new enabled me to progress much faster than if I stayed in full time education.
Joining the apprenticeship programme was my first full time office job and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do as a career. I was keen to get my foot in the door and create a positive impression with a highly regarded local employer. In my first year I learnt so much about the business, gained invaluable office experience and had lots of opportunities to show what I was capable of. On completing my apprenticeship, I was offered an opportunity to join the Procurement team as an administrator on a 12-month fixed term contract.
Carving out my career in procurement
I seized the opportunity to join Procurement and it certainly paid off. The role was really varied and enabled me to learn everything about the systems and processes at the heart of the service we provide. It was a steep learning curve – my motivation and commitment to developing my skills and improving how things were done were soon noticed and my responsibilities grew – and at the end of 12 months my contract had been extended.
A restructure of the department provided new opportunities and I stepped up to a Buyer role and it’s here my procurement career really started. Supported by colleagues and my line manager, I built my understanding of the fundamentals of public sector procurement and got the experience I needed to progress further. I took the next step up and started to build my experience in the research sector. I was really excited about building a specialism and taking on the challenge of learning about procurement strategy. After three years, I’ve been promoted to Category Manager and I’m a leading member of the Scientific Research Team.
Considering an apprenticeship?
If I could offer advice to someone starting out it would be to grab all the opportunities you can to learn and get hands on experience. An apprenticeship opens that door. No matter where your interest lies (and you might not know when you start out), the skills and knowledge you gain along the way are valuable and transferable whichever path you choose. Your desire to learn and commitment are just as important as your talent. These attributes are noticed by an employer like UK SBS who values and supports the development of its people.
Inspired to join the team?
Whether you are starting out or looking for a new challenge to enhance your previous experience, we might have the perfect role for you.
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