Apprentice to Director

By - Talent in Logistics Journal

Apprentice to Director

A recession, migrant crisis at the ports, Brexit and now coronavirus - the last 12 years have brought the logistics industry lots of challenges.

Due to the economy and the uncertainty of Brexit, the last five years have been the hardest of my career. And this is not just because I am a business owner.

Management brings with it lots of challenges, but when the industry is also facing difficulties, weathering the storm and keeping trade afloat is no mean feat.

We have faced many obstacles during our first five years but our investment in staff training and proactivity in preparing for Brexit early has successfully paid off and this has enabled us to continue growing the business, despite the uncertainty.

In fact, 2019 was Morrison Freight’s most successful year to date – something that we are incredibly proud of.

It has not always been plain sailing though. It has taken many years of hard work and training to get to this point. I’ve had to work my way up the ladder and I’m sure other business owners would be able to relate to the fact that it was by no means easy.

My dad was my hero 

Growing up, my summers were spent helping my dad in his warehousing business. I knew from an early age I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become as successful as he was one day.

“You need to write your own future. ” He said. “Working for me would be the easy option. ”

So, with his guidance and the experience I had from shadowing him, I left school and got myself a place at the International Trade College where I studied for my NVQ in International Trade and Services.

I then began an apprenticeship with Denholm International Freight Ltd in Felixstowe aged 16. With just £29 a week income and £15 a week bus fare it certainly wasn’t financially rewarding but I had my sights set on the next horizon.

Completing my apprenticeship was a huge milestone for me because it marked the beginning of my career and it solidified that this was the industry I wanted to be in.

The skills I learnt during my time as an apprentice were invaluable and now I am a business owner, I can understand the benefits apprentices bring to businesses too – which is why I am an advocate for employing apprentices.

In fact, I was able to mentor Jamie Abbott as he completed the exact same course that I did aged 16.

Working my way up 

I joined Denholm International Freight Ltd working on the Eastern European Department and I then moved around to learn more about the different departments within the business including the German department as it was (and always is) the busiest department.

During my time at Denholm, I first met Lee Steward, who is now my fellow director at Morrison Freight.

Lee and I first joined Morrison Freight in April 2002 when we were both 22 years old. Here we learnt more about freight forwarding and road haulage.

My role was very varied to begin with and I gained experience working on the Import, Export, South European, Warehousing, with the help from my Dad, and of course the German departments.

I also got my hands dirty and helped with handballing, the loading and unloading of containers and I even got my forklift license so I was able to work on this side of the business too. I spent many late nights and early mornings devanning containers and being on the ‘front line’ of daily operations.

This has massively helped me in my role as Director because I am able to understand all areas of the business so I know exactly what skills I need to recruit. It also means if there are any issues, Lee and I can support the team and provide training where appropriate.

Owning a business 

In April 2015, Lee and I made the joint decision to buy the business so we completed a management buyout and became directors with a vision of taking the company forward.

Within our first two years, we completed a Business Growth Programme with Cranfield School of Management. This encouraged us to think more strategically and enabled us to create a ten-year plan for the business. I also completed my Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) and DGSA qualification during this time

Since then we have invested heavily in training and employed for new roles in HR and operations to help us achieve our business aims.

Even though we are five years in and what we have achieved over the last five years is incredible; doubling the workforce, expanding into new markets and having our best year ever last year, I am very much still learning.

As my dad once told me “It’s not easy being successful. ”

#Develop #Highways #morrisonfreight