Katherine’s story

19 years old, Waberthwaite near Ravenglass

Where did you grow up? 

Waberthwaite, West Cumbria. 

What degree course did you study?       

Transport and Logistics Operations via an online portal with the Institute of Supply Chain Management, whilst being employed by Cyclife UK Ltd.              

Why did you decide on this area?  

I have always had a keen interest in how things are moved round the world from point of manufacture to point of use. I wanted to get an insight into how this works. 

Why did you decide on this employer? 

I was fortunate to get a week’s placement with my Cyclife UK Ltd through Dream Placement which is facilitated by the Centre for Leadership Performance. After the placement, I was offered a job with the company. As I have always wanted to do transport and logistics, my academic course was in this field, with other areas of development within the company to suit the company’s requirements.   

Has your career or education taken any unexpected turns? 

Fortunately, my career so far has been as planned. I have a very good employer who supports my progress and addresses any issues I come across.  

Why did you decide to study for a degree? 

I am keen to continue my education as far as possible to ensure I have the best knowledge I can within my field. As a part of my apprenticeship, I will undertake a Level 6 course in Logistics and Transport. 

What did you study at sixth form / college? 

At Millom Sixth Form I studied Geography, Business Studies, and Product Design.  

How did you decide what to do after school / college? 

I thought about what interested me and which job I’d like to do. I wanted to enjoy what I did and therefore be passionate about the subject, which would in turn allow me to continue learning.  

Did anyone help you to decide? 

I independently decided what I wanted to do as a career, however I wasn’t sure how to get into the position I wanted to be in. This is where the help and support from my parents came in.  

Who influenced you? 

I don’t think anyone in particular influenced me; I am quite self-motivated so I was able to proactively put myself out there to help me become the best version of myself.  

What support did you get? 

I had a lot of support from my parents, but also from my head of sixth form and personal development teacher at school, who both knew that I wasn’t looking to go to university, and helped me to explore my options. They encouraged me to apply to Dream Placement as it would be a very useful experience to have, even if nothing came from it.   

What’s the best thing about studying with your employer? What’s the best thing about your course? 

The best thing about working for Cyclife and completing an online course is that I am on site all the time and I can put what I learn through my coursework into practice on a day-to-day basis. The company is very good at making sure I have a balanced workload and that I am achieving as much as I can.  

Did you find anything difficult about applying for and/or starting a degree? 

The thing I found most difficult was writing my applications; it was difficult choosing what to include and what not to include to fit with the word count. To overcome this, I asked for help from my teachers and family.  

Were there any key turning points in your journey into a degree? 

The turning point was when I attended the Dream Placement selection event for the second year as an alumni for the program and began networking with employers in the room. I was fortunate enough to meet the person who is now my line manager.  

What are you looking forward to the most about finishing your apprenticeship? 

Becoming fully qualified and having a recognized qualification in my name that I can be proud of.  

Any tips for anyone choosing to study transport and logistics? 

Don’t give up. Although it may seem impossible to get into the industry, there are places out there. You may not enter your working career in your dream job, but over time you can work yourself into your dream position if you really try. Have your dream job in mind and work out the most appropriate way to get there, 

What advice would you give to someone from your area? 

Its not always the big, well-known employers that have the best jobs. Smaller, less well-known companies can offer more personalized and tailored career pathways.  

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? 

I see myself as a successful individual who has achieved as much as possible in her career and continues to strive to do more and be better at my job.