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Meet Natasha

 

"The programme has given me the tools and materials to learn the ‘why’, and a more detailed description of the theories and models behind current Procurement and Supply Chain practices."

 

Meet Natasha, Level 4 Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprentice

Senior Procurement Consultant Natasha is studying for her Level 4 Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprenticeship alongside her role. Here's what Natasha has to say about her experience so far:

How have you found the Apprenticeship programme?

I have found the Apprenticeship programme really insightful, interesting and have found that it has given me much more confidence whilst perform my daily role. Having studied Psychology at University, then starting straight onto the Lidl Graduate Programme immediately after, my knowledge of Procurement & Supply when I first joined the Procurement department was limited. This quickly changed once going through my training plan & after many interactions with my knowledgeable colleagues, but the theory and academic knowledge was still something that I struggled with. This all changed when I started my Apprenticeship.

The programme has given me the tools and materials to learn the ‘why’, and a more detailed description of the theories and models behind current Procurement and Supply Chain practices. It has been extremely interesting to learn these (things like the Kraljic matrix, Mendelow’s matrix, the Trust matrix… the list goes on) and also to understand why current Lidl Procurement processes are in place – I found it fascinating to compare existing models against our processes to identify the similarities (and of course the differences). Furthermore, through the knowledge that I have obtained from my programme it has also given me the confidence to challenge things more, and question why certain processes are a certain way, helping to bring about change & implement more efficient working.

What was your biggest learning?

My biggest learning from my programme so far would actually be the change in mind-set and perspective that it has provided me with. Having obtained more knowledge of the area of Procurement and Supply and having had many interesting discussions with peers in other businesses (who are also undergoing the same Apprenticeship programme) has allowed me to think more strategically than I was previously.

How do you now use your Apprenticeship Learnings in your day to day role?

As I am still quite early on in my Apprenticeship Programme, applying my learnings is something that I am yet to implement fully. I find that my vocabulary and confidence whilst running tenders & negotiating with suppliers has improved since starting the programme. In addition, it has sparked an abundance of ideas for implementation in the future. An example would include a centralised map/matrix for all Lidl GB Procurement suppliers & items (using the principles from the Kraljic matrix) to identify and minimise supply risks to the business.

How did you manage the 20% off-the-job training? What are some examples of the 20% off-the-job training that you have completed?

20% off the job training has been one of the more challenging aspects of the programme, as it essentially means that one day a week must be spent studying/developing myself (and as ever, time is precious). However, I have found that the most important thing for this was time-management & planning. Ahead of each week, I ensure that I look in my diary for the following week to check what I have coming up. If I have no other training booked in, I will book time out of my diary for ‘self-study’ in which I focus on reading training materials & researching areas of interest – always making sure that I put a clear objective for what I want to achieve out of that allocated time slot. Personally, I have found TED Talks & YouTube videos on/around the area of Procurement & Supply really useful, and also nice to learn via listening and making notes, rather than reading.

However, I have also had many other training opportunities, including attendance to annual building inspections and shadowing site visits with suppliers / external consultants.

What are the three words you would use to describe your apprenticeship journey?

Thought-provoking, challenging, rewarding.

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