Lifelong leadership learning in Cumbria

Apprentice Experience – James Harrison

James Harrison is a PPP SCP Apprentice Procurement Officer at Doosan Babcock, member of the Cumbria Future Leaders network and Dream Placement alumni. Read his apprenticeship journey below.

What apprenticeship are you doing? How did Dream Placement help you with your next steps/securing an apprenticeship?

I am currently studying Level 4 Procurement and Supply Chain Management in the form of CIPS with Doosan Babcock whilst working on the SCP project within PPP. Dream Placement put me in this position as prior to the placement I got with Doosan through the scheme I was going to work for Sellafield Ltd however, due to the contacts I made and the insight I gained I was offered an apprenticeship opportunity to which I was happy to accept having seen how Doosan operated as a company.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship over university? 

Since I was 16, I knew that an apprenticeship was the correct route for me as opposed to other traditional routes such as university due to the increased demand for experience to gain a job as well as needing to be qualified and an apprenticeship is the perfect way to do both. An apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to apply what you are learning as you learn and, in some cases, you may learn to do things during the day job and learn more about why certain things are done during your studies.

Why did you choose to stay in Cumbria? 

This apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to stay local in West Cumbria while I studied and worked which is something I was looking to do as my friends and family are generally situated in the area, and I play and support local sport. But working with a company as large as Doosan Babcock also gives me the opportunity to travel as Dream Placement put me in contact with this global entity who I would most likely have overlooked had it not been for my placement.

When will you complete your programme?

The apprenticeship I am doing currently is a 2 year course which will be completed in the Autumn of 2023.

What are your next steps? What do you hope to achieve from this programme?

My next steps from this will hopefully be to work with Doosan furthermore for a couple years and build up more of a portfolio, but whilst I am enjoying working for Doosan and if opportunities to progress within the company present themselves I will definitely consider them however if they do not I will most likely branch out and consider routes with other companies potentially in areas outside of nuclear.

Through this programme the goals I have set out and want to achieve are:

1. Achieve L4 CIPS accreditation and then continue a route to achieve MCIPS accreditation.

2.  Create a network in the PPP (4 companies working together on Sellafield projects over 20 years).

3. Be in a position where I am confident in my abilities as a procurement officer to a degree where I could go into a wide array of industries.

My final goal is to enjoy it and to appreciate opportunities given to me and take all of those I can accept.

What advice would you give your younger self? What advice would you give someone thinking about doing an apprenticeship?

If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I wouldn’t do much differently as I don’t believe in looking back with a sense of regret as without these choices I wouldn’t be where I am, but I would suggest to younger me to consider the 5-year plan rather than focusing on closing out the week but don’t be stressed out if things do not follow what was set out. To anyone considering doing an apprenticeship I would encourage them to research their options, maybe talk to companies who work in industries you would be interested in working in and ask about various entry routes they may have as many companies have apprenticeship schemes which are often not shared in the right places, so they are often missed out on. And in many cases when you do an apprenticeship you can always gain the same qualifications if not higher than those of someone who attended university.

Thank you to James for sharing his story. 

Lifelong Leadership Learning in Cumbria