BSc Management Sciences – Loughborough University
Ben joined the graduate programme in 2010.
“I’ve been aware of Rolls-Royce for a long time. I grew up in Burton-on-Trent, which is close to Derby. Because the firm is such a big employer in the area, I often met people who worked at their plant. I was always struck by how highly they spoke of Rolls-Royce. Without exception, everyone I met seemed proud to work there.
“It was a summer placement that actually led me to this particular area. I worked in the purchasing department of a major car dealership and discovered I had a taste for this type of work. It was something I knew Rolls-Royce excelled in. They’ve got a thousand people working in procurement; the scale and sophistication of their global purchasing function is well documented. I knew I’d get the best training here.
“My first placement gave me a brilliant introduction to purchasing at Rolls-Royce. I worked for one of the Supply Chain Units (SCUs) in Gas Turbines — the place where we make our famous jet engines. I shadowed a senior buyer and helped to ensure our combustion and casing components were delivered on time. Along with cost and quality, delivery is a vital part of the purchasing mix. Although those first three months whizzed by, I learned so much.
“The second placement presented a different set of challenges. I worked for our civil nuclear business, which is still a relatively new area for Rolls-Royce. Although we don’t have any considerable purchase orders yet, companies are constantly approaching us for quotes. Getting these costs is a huge challenge – simply because the projects are still speculative. I had to develop our relationships with suppliers in places like Poland, Italy and Scotland. That required a new set of skills entirely.
“Right now, I’m in Central Purchasing. Purchasing as a function is constantly looking at methods to improve their processes, reaping long term benefits, so it’s a more strategic role. This has most definitely been the most challenging placement so far but with that comes excitement and reward. The placement has provided fantastic exposure to the Purchasing Leadership team and a superb outlook on Purchasing as a whole.
“In terms of the future, the opportunities are endless. With a vast array of roles in multiple locations, Rolls-Royce can provide an unrivalled choice of career progression paths.”