Meet the young women leading logistics with Wincanton's graduate programme

Amy O'Neill

With its face-paced environment and endless career progression opportunities, Wincanton is the place to be this summer for many aspiring graduates.

We spoke to two young, female graduates who have already gone through the programme to ask them about what they've learned - and what advice they'd give to the next cohort.

Starting in 2017, the Wincanton graduate programme aims to bring more graduates into the logistics industry, giving young people the tools and opportunities to work with some of the UK's most well-known brands and build a career that's all their own. 

Below, Shona and Stephanie share their own career journeys, their first impressions of the programme, and their biggest career accomplishments to date:


What were your expectations before joining Wincanton? 

Shona: Before joining Wincanton, I had perceptions that I would be part of a fast-paced industry with lots of different sectors which all are important to the operation and running of the company. What I didn't realise was the sheer number of roles and different functions there were in a third-party logistics company, and I was not aware of how large Wincanton's customer base was and how closely the company work with their customers. I expected to be thrown into a real role, with responsibility and lots of support as a new graduate too.

Stephanie: I was really excited to join Wincanton and I had an open mind. I wasn't too sure what to expect as my cohort joined at peak COVID-19 times, but I knew I was going to be given a lot of responsibility from day one. 


What were your first impressions of their graduate programme? 

Shona: My first impressions were that the graduate scheme was highly valued within the company, and this was obvious by the amount of support available to us upon starting at Wincanton. My graduate buddy especially was very helpful and gave me some brilliant advice in my first few months in the company. The people whom I worked with were friendly and very supportive which was reassuring. I knew from my first few weeks that Wincanton ran a huge operation and there was a lot to be learnt during my two years.

Stephanie: That the company were going through a lot of changes. We had a newly appointed CEO who was sharing a new vision for the organisation. This was really exciting as I knew we were going to be a part of a big change.

Tell us about where have you been and what have you done so far? 

Shona: I have had two placements so far which have been worlds apart from each other which I think just shows the variety of placements on offer. My first placement was in the transport office for M&S in Sheffield and there I ran an office with 3 admin staff and 50 drivers and porters. I had a variety of tasks to complete each day to ensure the operation ran smoothly. My biggest challenge in that placement was getting up to speed with all the technical language and laws surrounding transport and driver's hours as I am not from a logistics background.

Whilst at that placement, I created a report which encompassed the KPI's into one report rather than 10 different reports which saved the office hours of daily admin time, time which can be diverted to providing a better service to M&S. My second placement is in the Bid Support team where I have been involved in a variety of projects thus far across all sectors of the company. It is given me the opportunity to meet and work with different functions including Sales, Finance, HR and business analysts. It's been invaluable to learn how all these functions contribute to the growth of the business.

Stephanie: I have had several placements on different contracts in different sectors. I have worked as a team leader and project manager on our IKEA contract where I got an overview of the entire operation and experience in managing a team. I was then seconded to our new Waitrose dark store for six weeks where I got to meet new people, manage my own projects and experience what it's like to be a part of a start-up. I am now on the Strategy team which I am loving! Very different to the operation and I get an overview of the organisation as a whole. 

What advice could you give to the graduates looking to join Wincanton?

Shona: Be open-minded and willing to try lots of different things. You can expect responsibility from day 1 which is great but remember that this means that people rely on you to get tasks done and for guidance and leadership within the team. The whole graduate scheme will be a learning curve, so it is OK to make mistakes and perhaps not even enjoy things. You have plenty of opportunities to rotate placements and find things that you really enjoy. The logistics industry has so many functions so perhaps pick three of interest and gear your graduate scheme towards working in all three functions to find what you really do enjoy.

Stephanie: Take every opportunity given to you!


To learn more about Wincanton's 2022 Graduate Programme, follow the link here.