Graduate Apprentice – My journey so far

I started my journey after becoming an economics graduate with an accountancy internship and then working as a customer service representative. What I didn’t anticipate was that the next step of my professional career would be at CHIC as a Graduate Apprentice – which I applied for so I can learn more varied professional skills. I joined CHIC in April 2023 and it has been a rewarding 8 months so far.

CHIC’s two year apprenticeship rotates through different business functions, giving a hands on understanding of the organisation whilst learning new skills along the way. As an economics graduate, this opportunity was particularly interesting – a chance to bridge theory with real world applications in a sector I had never considered before.

I started in the Member Services Team, the ‘client’ facing function within CHIC. My role involved working with the regional leads in supporting members to procure and mobilise new contracts. It was great learning about how the sector works and supporting members to put contracts in place for new services.

Identifying potential CHIC members also became a core part of my responsibilities. This allowed me to enhance my research and analysis skills, connecting the dots between CHIC’s services and potential clients.

A key highlight working with Member Services was getting involved in member moderation meetings, forming part of the tender process. These sessions added a layer of involvement that helped me to really understand what our members need.

I have now moved into the Procurement team, where I am involved in the varying and granular aspects of the procurement process, from assisting in the management of mini competitions for members through Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) and Frameworks, to providing support for tender applications and maintaining our internal supplier database.

My responsibilities also include processing tender queries and participating in all stages of the tender process, from publishing expressions of interest (EOIs) to framework and contract awards, all through our e-sourcing software. Each day presents a new challenge, but it is fulfilling to be part of a vibrant and growing team in helping to mitigate risks and provide a great customer service.

CHIC’s dynamic environment is particularly interesting as different tasks and processes challenge me to think critically and swiftly. It is a fast paced atmosphere, allowing not only my technical growth but also an understanding the importance of teamwork and strategic thinking. Working at CHIC has also allowed me to take part in social value initiatives such as volunteering and raising money through last year’s Steps Challenge, where we successfully raised £1,200 for CHIP.

Reflecting on my journey at CHIC so far, I’m grateful for the learning curve, the opportunity to contribute and the collaboration with skilled professionals. This apprenticeship has been rewarding, learning more about myself and developing my professional skills. As I navigate through the other departments at CHIC, I’m eager for the new lessons and experiences that lie ahead. This graduate apprenticeship has been insightful and I’m confident the skills I am learning will help to shape my future career aspirations.

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