Charlotte joined YPO as an apprentice back in 2013 when she was just 16. Fast forward six years and she's climbed the ladder to her current role as category buyer and now manages the national YPO Apprenticeships framework!
In July 2013 at the age of 16 I made the choice to start my working career early and venture into the life as an apprentice here at YPO. I decided to go down this route because I wasn’t very academic but enjoyed the working life from previous jobs/work experience I’d done.
After confirmation of successfully being appointed to the YPO apprenticeship role (business administrator), I was placed in the procurement department exploring areas such as contracts, procurement, stock control and management information. This allowed me to gain knowledge and experience from a range of areas which all linked together in many ways.
Throughout my career as an apprentice I had a few knock backs where I was unsuccessful for a couple of full-time roles, but it actually made me come back stronger!
Dust yourself off
In June 2015 I secured a secondment role in YPO’s procurement services team as a procurement business administrator. This was the time to prove what skills and knowledge I could bring to the table and after a push in the deep end (due to maternity leave and two new starters including myself), my confidence grew and I final felt I was making an impact on the delivery of YPO’s main objectives.
Six months into the role it became apparent to me that procurement was definitely a career I wanted to go into.
A clear career path
January 2016 came and there was an opportunity for me to apply for the role of further competition coordinator. This role would give me the chance to take on more responsibility which I was really keen for. Fast forward a few weeks and I was appointed into the role – oh how I cried when hearing that news! It was like all the confidence issues I’d faced as a young child/teenager had vanished just like that, and after a few months of settling into the new role I became a stronger individual. I was really enjoying the work I was doing and the feeling of helping individuals around me in the team was amazing!
In October 2017, we started to research the apprenticeships market as a team to help organisations spend their levy funding in an easy and compliant way. I had a vested interest in this project because of my personal journey and experience starting out as an apprentice. It was really interesting for me to understand how I got here in the first place, as well as learning about the journey for YPO as an organisation to coordinate recruiting apprentices.
I carried on for a further 23 months learning ‘the procurement way’ and continuing my journey through ‘my personal procurement pathway’. During this time period, some colleagues I’d worked with from the beginning of my journey were leaving the business and new people were arriving; it was great for me to show the hard work that I was capable of achieving!
Dreams do come true
In November 2018 I bit the bullet and applied for the role of category buyer. I knew this was a huge step, but I felt like it was a great opportunity to help me develop my personal skills and prove to my colleagues that I wanted to progress.
On the 7 November 2018 at the age of 21, I managed to secure a full-time category buyer job within our HR Services Category team! My dream from 2015 had come true and the support I received from people around the business was truly amazing.
My role now is to manage the full portfolio of YPO frameworks that fall under the remit of training. This also includes the management of the Apprenticeships framework which consists of supplier management, building customer relationships, working closely with our marketing team and having a full understanding of the ever-changing industry.
Who would’ve known that when I started as an apprentice at YPO six years ago, I would then be responsible for the procurement and management of the only national Apprenticeships framework in the country!