Mark Blake

Warehouse Team Manager – Industrial Placement

  • Business Management with Law
  • Bournemouth University
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • Gist Ltd

What was the interview process like?

The interview process was relaxed and gave me an opportunity to gain a real insight into the business and all the opportunities available to me. Having originally applied for the HR placement scheme, the ETL advised that my skillset may be better suited to the operational placement scheme. I wasn’t really sure what Gist did but their Insight Day was a unique opportunity to see how the business operated on a day to day basis. It allowed me to talk to current placement students about their experiences and what opportunities might be available to me. Following that was the final assessment centre at Head Office where we had speed interviews, scenarios and team building activities. A couple of days after the assessment centre I got the call to say I was successful so the process was really quick.

How much responsibility do you have?

The responsibility I have been given is incredible meaning I am treated like any other Team Manager within the team. I am managing a team of up to 30 people each day as well as being given several projects throughout the year such as Hallmark. The more I grow within the role the more responsibility I am afforded.

What you do on a day to day basis?

No two days are really the same but my main responsibility is managing the shift whether this be in the fridge or the ambient. Each day has its own challenges, monitoring performances and attempting to maximise the resources available to complete the task effectively.

What advice would you give to students applying for your role?

The best advice would be go in with an open mind and ask loads of questions. The scheme at Gist has allowed me to choose my own path for this year, exploring various departments, locations and opening my eyes to the opportunities available in the future. There are people within the business who have been in exactly the same position as me so never be afraid to seek advice.

What do you most enjoy about your role?

I most enjoy the responsibility I am afforded to make a real impact on the organization and the opportunity to develop within my role. Despite lacking managerial experience, working alongside experienced managers and ex graduates has really helped me push on. With minimal experience before the scheme I have been able to grow within my role.

What has been your biggest challenge?

With the Supply Chain industry constantly changing the biggest challenge is adjusting to the constant process changes in line with customer requirements. Championing new processes and rolling these out to fellow staff is a massive responsibility but something I relish.

Describe your biggest achievement?

Christmas is the busiest time for the company and for my first peak I was teamed up with a fellow Team Manager to conduct the Outloading for Days. Having had no prior experience I had to quickly grasp the process and react to constantly changing requirements from the customer. Overall we had a successful peak period, exceeding the targets set by the company for us. Following the peak period I was able to gain more experience within this role and now lead the Days Outload on a daily regular basis.

How has this experience exceeded your expectations?

Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect but it has definitely been the most enjoyable working experience. I have been able to tailor my Industrial Placement year to allow me to explore the opportunities Gist has to offer. I have been afforded time in various departments such as Transport and Consultancy as well as visiting other depots within the network. I didn’t expect to be managing a team in such a short space of time but the support network around me has allowed me to succeed.

What is the office atmosphere like?

At the depot, there are numerous people on hand to offer advice and guidance. Having ex graduates who have come through the same process is a massive help. Everyone is friendly and always pushing me to achieve more. With so many different characters in the depot everyone pulls together to get the job complete.

What activities are there outside of work?

The induction week is a great week to meet fellow IPs and Graduates outside of the working environment. We were able to share stories and experiences from our first weeks and many of us keep in touch throughout the year. We could socialise with activities like Archery, Laser Tag and Sedge ways. We have work socials such as 5 a side football which is a great way to integrate with the team especially when you first start.

How promising are the graduate prospects?

The opportunities are endless. I have already been given the opportunity to visit numerous sites throughout my year. This gives me an insight as to what I can expect on the graduate scheme. Having been given a buddy and a mentor, both who have come through the same process as me, I can see where I want to aim for.

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