Supply Chain Apprentice at GSK

Start Date:
Central London & City
Programme Type:
Degree Apprenticeship
£17,000 annually
Review Date:
May 2018

Connect with GSK

Review Score

7.7 /10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


In my first role I worked in consumer external supply. I mainly focused on procurement and supplier data. I had the chance to manage the first ever multi-category RFQ (request for quotation) where I set up a bidding platform for products and spoke to buyers daily. I also analysed supplier performance and set up a platform that my team could use that didn't exist before hand. In my second placement I moved to a manufacturing site where I became the sole component scheduler for the site. I went to daily meetings across the site and solved risks and issues regularly and provided feedback to leadership. In my third placement I came back to external supply, but under a category lead. I have been working on the latest divestment project to generate over £50million.I have spoken to stakeholder globally to collect information and documents and then relaying the information to VPs in a meeting I host.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


With my apprenticeship I acquire a BSc honours in Business and International trade. So far I have learnt about International Finance, Marketing and International Distribution. Through my apprenticeship I have been able to develop my leadership and team skills and learn how to adapt my communication with different groups of people. It has allowed me to be more confident in and outside of work as the teams I have been placed have allowed me to feel comfortable.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


So far I have thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship. I have been able to contribute and discuss my development plan openly with my manager and work together to choose the best path for me. I feel I have been given great responsibility to ensure I am giving back to the company, exceeding my previous expectations of the apprenticeship program.

4. How valued do you feel by GSK?


My response to this question is mixed. Within the teams I have been in everyone has been impressed and has verbally communicated any feedback which has been beneficial for my development and confidence. However from groups that I don't work as close with I feel the name "apprentice" is still associated with a young student who doesn't know much. I feel work needs to be done globally especially in the APAc and Americas region as apprenticeships aren't as common and they aren't aware of the schemes and the capabilities. I feel also changing the titles of apprentices would help. For example graduates have the title Associate not grad and I feel something similar should be in place for apprentices

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


As I was the first apprentice to join external supply an extensive plan was put in place. However it has been flexible and I have been able to influence the plan to follow a route I'd prefer but still learning all aspects of the supply chain. I have little meeting with the apprentice leads however if I ever see them they ask if everything is going ok and I have work and are always more than happy to help and I know that if I have an issue they would handle right away.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


My college days are good as it allows me to see and learn with my fellow supply chain apprentices. It has allowed me to build my network which has benefitted my university work and also my project work. The university work however I feel is lacking. For a topic we receive only 3/4 calls which I feel is not enough to cover a whole topic and we only have 1 call following finding out our topic question.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


The attitude is great when It comes to deadlines. My managers are aware of the uni work and are flexible when it comes to deadlines. I am allowed 1 day a week committed to uni work and although I don't always take this they are flexible in allowing me more time in the final weeks to deadline to allow me to fully focus on the work in hand.

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


To join the scheme I have to move out and live closer to GSK. I started on 14K and this was enough to get by with the help of my parents however I think the current changes in salary will benefit all of those new to joining. I feel changing the bonus scheme has negatively influenced my vote on this. We now no longer have the incentive to exceed and take on extra work knowing that someone just scraping by, doing the least work possible without getting detected will get the same as those taking on extra projects outside of your team. I understand the whole company has changed their approach however I feel it should have remained for apprentices. We are on a far lower wage than many, and I feel a bonus was a nice way to say thank you so an apprentice could treat themselves once a year.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


My teams have generally been older and therefore don't go out as much. Meeting my fellow apprentices on college days has allowed for the additional social side. I am unaware of any other events outside of work.

9. Would you recommend GSK to a friend?


9b. Why?

I would recommend GSK to a friend because they give you meaningful work that adds value to the company so you can feel and see that you are impacting the company. The development opportunities are great and everyone is around to support you. The wage isn't bad if you budget and are smart with money.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to GSK?

Familiarise yourself with the star technique. Read about GSK and their current position and plans and also their historic key events. Once at GSK I would say "put yourself out there". Set up meeting with your team to understand what they do but set up another, 3 months after to fully understand because you can't take everything in when you join.

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