22 September 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
A procurement apprenticeship scheme aimed at the public sector in Wales began this month.
Set up by Kay Smith, director of the NHS's North Wales Supplies Consortium, with help from NHS procurement officer Kathryn Sawyers, the programme has financial support from the Welsh Assembly.
The year-long scheme is understood to be the only one of its kind in the Wales. It has launched with four students: Caryl Evans, Matthew Stuart, Anthony Dawber and Stacey Beacall, and will cover areas such as purchasing supplies and tendering. In addition to practical work, the students will have study time to complete an NVQ level 2 in procurement.
Paul Skellon, CIPS council member for Wales and leader of Value Wales (Procurement), part of the Welsh Assembly, which backed the scheme with up to £25,000, said: "People make career decisions in the fifth/sixth form and have never heard of procurement, which means we're missing a huge number of them."
Apprentice Caryl Evans told SM: "I was going to go into administration work but I found out about this and it looked like something I'd like to do, although my careers' adviser had to describe a lot about it to me."
If the scheme is successful it could be rolled out across Wales and offered to CIPS or others interested in running it.
Chris Gallagher, director of membership development at CIPS, has been helping to develop National Occupational Standards for procurement, which are set to be launched in June. These will feed into a new range of NVQs in supply chain management, one of which covers junior positions.
Smith, who from November will be the CIPS council member for Wales, said: "We saw a gap that CIPS itself realises exists."