Q&A for CILT magazine, Focus - Harry Laverick
Congratulations on being voted Apprentice of the Year in the Northamptonshire Logistics Awards. What did this mean to you?
To receive the award within the first two years of my career is an honour. Since I arrived at Fortec, everyone at the company has supported me to learn in some way or another. This is the first time I’ve been recognised for my achievements, outside sport, and it feels like all my hard work has paid off. Winning the award has made we want to work harder than ever before, so that I can continue to live up to being Apprentice of the Year.
Could you tell Focus a little about the work you had done leading up to winning the award that resulted in you being nominated for this recognition?
Since I’ve been at Fortec, I have been involved in the implementation of an internal newsletter and continue to compile each bi-monthly edition. I have also been working with Fortec’s 80 network members across the UK, assisting with the production of brochures and signage projects, as well as designing content for social media and assisting in increasing traffic to the website. I taught myself how to create videos using Adobe Animate and I designed an animation ahead of our national member conference earlier in the year. I feel passionate about developing my skills and there is always plenty of opportunity to do so here at Fortec.
What does your day-to-day role as Marketing Assistant entail?
I am now responsible for our social media and over the past two years I have learned how to create videos, photos and other content that is varied and engaging. I am responsible for planning, scheduling and creating the content, ensuring that we maintain and increase engagement, and that we continue to build our online profile across the various social media channels. I also oversee website updates, video production, imaging and email marketing campaigns. I also support our members with their marketing and I manage our suppliers.
Having completed your Digital Marketing Apprenticeship Level 3, how have you enjoyed your role as a marketer within the logistics profession?
The sector is interesting and varied; no two days are the same. I am looking forward to developing my skills further and tailoring them to suit our B2B market. The fact that I work within a small department means I can make an important contribution every single day.
Was logistics a profession you had envisaged working in when considering a career in marketing?
No, not at all. My dad and uncle both worked in logistics, so I did have some knowledge of how it worked, but it was not a deliberate move.
What encouraged you to choose a career in logistics with Fortec Distribution Network?
I joined Fortec straight from Leicester College after completing a Level 3 BTEC extended diploma in business and computing. I wanted to study for an apprenticeship rather than go on to university, partly due to the high tuition fees, but mainly so I could gain experience. Not only does an apprenticeship offer a similar level of education to university, but also it gives me a head start through the experience I gain whilst I study. Many employers are looking for a certain number of years’ experience in addition to qualifications. By chance I happened to spot Fortec’s apprenticeship scheme and researched the company online. It’s modern and vibrant branding appealed and I thought it looked like a business I could work with. Since then I’ve never looked back and my confidence in my skills and my industry knowledge have grown.
We often talk about the huge variety of careers available to those working within logistics. As somebody who has entered the profession through a marketing background, do you agree with this statement?
Absolutely. The logistics sector provides a wealth of opportunities across virtually every discipline: marketing, IT, customer service, health and safety, HR and more.
What impact has Fortec Distribution Network had on you as your career develops?
Fortec is hugely important to my career. Now that I have completed my Level 3 apprenticeship, the company has given me the opportunity to continue to study and I’ve just started my Level 4 Marketing Assistant apprenticeship which is coupled with the CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing. I’m also given time every week to learn new skills, such as I have with animation, so I will continue to work on improving my knowledge of creative programs, design and my written language skills to bring more to the team.
Do you believe the sector suffers from an image problem amongst graduates and young professionals? If so, what would you like to see the wider profession do to change it?
To someone on the outside, logistics is not perhaps the most attractive sector to work in and I’m sure it’s not top of the list of young people’s career choices. Before I joined Fortec the word ‘logistics’ meant warehouses, trucks and things like my ASOS deliveries, but once you work in it you realise there is so much more to it. There may even be more of a variety of opportunities here than you would find in many industries. It would be good to see logistics companies and industry bodies work more closely with schools, colleges, universities and careers advisors. It’s a really important sector in the UK and it needs to be doing more to attract young talent that will carry the profession forward.
What do you believe needs to be done to encourage more young people to work in the profession?
I think the earlier young people are made aware of what logistics has to offer the better. When they are making their GCSE choices, there needs to be more information on some of the less obvious sectors, such as transport. I know that I would have been influenced by someone nearer my own age sharing their own experiences. Additionally, the imagery and language used by many logistics companies and organisations could be refreshed to reflect better the diversity that can be found within the sector.