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BIFAlink


Apprentice Profile


www.bifa.org


position at a warehouse offered little prospect of career progression, so when a family member mentioned that Panalpina World Transport was taking on apprentices, he immediately saw an opportunity to begin a new journey, although he knew little about the freight industry at that time. Having assumed the role of LCL export team leader in January 2019, with a team of three (soon to be four) people under him, Tom is the only one of his group of apprentices at Panalpina to have taken a step up. That is partly due to his decision to push for the more demanding Level 4 qualification.


Level 4 course Tom explained: “The Level 4 course covers things like how to manage a department and improve processes. My first year (Level 2/3) was really just jumping through hoops, because I already had my A Levels, but Level 4 was a revelation: I had to apply the theory I was learning to my daily work, and the benefits to how the department ran were quite noticeable. “It was very satisfying to see the results of the


effort I was putting in. I am also the sort of person that if I am not learning, I struggle to stay interested in what I am doing.” His drive to learn and develop means that Tom


Tom Turner: “I think if you attack something with enough effort, and you are willing to learn, you can get results.”


Stepping up to meet new challenges


BIFA introduced the new Apprentice of the Year Award following the launch of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist Apprenticeship in April 2018. For the first-ever winner in this category, Tom Turner, what started as a stepping stone became the first step on a new path


“I was actually all set to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a pilot,” Tom Turner recalled. “I had completed my officer training and I was about to get my commission, but I failed one of the ‘pass or fail’ tests by just a few points.


“It was devastating at the time; I had been in 18


the Cadets all through my teen years, and chosen all my A Levels to help me get into the RAF.” Told that he could reapply and go through the


process again, or change direction, Tom decided he needed to get himself into employment. His


is already thinking in terms of more challenging roles for the future – perhaps key account manager, sales, or beyond. However, he recognises the need to accumulate commercial experience and to explore his new position as team leader.


“I am trying to make sure I am taking the right steps early on,” he explained. “First, I need to establish myself in this role and prove I can hack it: leading people is new to me. Right now I am an effort guy and a systems guy, always looking at how I can refine processes and make things run better.”


Results


Asked to outline for new Panalpina apprentices what they should expect from the scheme, he said: “I told them it is not that much fun: you are often working harder than the people around you, for less pay! But you are investing in yourself – and you get out what you put in. “If you just want to put in the bare minimum of


effort and then go home at the end of the day, maybe an apprenticeship is not for you. They are very worthwhile but you have got to have the motivation. I think if you attack something with enough effort, and you are willing to learn, you can get results.” For Tom, certainly, winning the BIFA


Apprentice of the Year Award was the well- deserved crystallisation of that attitude.


April 2019


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