People, Purchasing, Undergraduate

Purchasing Undergraduate – Grace McCalla

How have you seen your role develop since you first started?

I spent my first couple of weeks shadowing senior buyers in the team on their projects to get a feel for what their day-to-day role consisted of. Now I am able to produce work that contributes to such projects, as well as leading my own.

How would you describe a typical working day?

My working hours are 8 to 4 each day but I am normally in the office around 7:45. I have a range of meetings both internal with colleagues and external with suppliers, but I still have enough time in the day to get my work done. The work I do is heavily project-based, and I’m expected to manage my own projects, so depending on how developed each project is, will depend on what is required of me. Personally, for me the office environment is welcoming and friendly but it’s also a professional place where you can focus if you need to.

What was a project you were proud to be part of?

Being a Construction Buyer, I have enjoyed working on the expansion and redevelopment of the Whitley site. This was very exciting as it is one of the largest procurement projects to happen at Whitley. I was asked to perform analysis work on tenders submitted by the contractors, and the evidence was used in the decision-making process when the main contractor was appointed. This was a proud moment for me because despite my lack of experience, I was able to make a valid contribution to a major project.

What’s the best thing about being part of the Undergraduate Programme?

The level of responsibility you get given and the respect you get from other colleagues. I have never been given small admin tasks to do. I have been tasked with real work where I can make valuable contributions.

How would you describe your placement to a friend?

The programme has pushed me out my comfort zone and I was able to develop skills I didn’t know I had and make contributions I didn’t know I was capable of. It’s been an incredible experience, with inspiring people and invaluable learning.