We need to encourage young people into procurement

posted by Chris Bruce
14 May 2021

CIPS South of England Branch has joined forces with charity EBP South to inspire young people to consider a career in procurement and supply, as Chris Bruce explains

At the CIPS South of England Branch, we share a passion for developing the next generation of procurement and supply professionals. Neil Clarke, branch education liaison officer, often comments that whenever we ask a group how they got into the profession, it is almost always having started in another career then falling or being pushed into this one. We wanted to promote what we think is an excellent career opportunity at an early age so more people choose procurement and supply as a profession, alongside being a doctor, accountant or lawyer.

As a result, Neil has led the branch’s activity to be present at school and college careers events to promote the procurement profession. We have developed a range of interactive games and scripts to engage the younger generations to signpost procurement as a go-to career.

We have been developing our offering over the last four years, in support of Education Business Partnership (EBP) South, a registered charity that connects schools and businesses, with a mission to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work. They organise events in schools and colleges and run ‘Get Inspired’ Careers Fair events at large venues to cater for up to 1,000 students in one day. Businesses attend to chat with students about career opportunities – we attend with some interactive exercises that we have developed to attract and engage the students and discuss different insights into the profession.

As a result of the global pandemic we have taken our careers offering virtual. One of our talented committee members, Sven Boddington, has been working on a video on the procurement profession, getting over 20 practitioners to explain what they do and why they enjoy the profession. Sven said he wanted to combine a real-world example with responses from procurement practitioners to ask questions such as ‘what’s the most expensive thing you have ever bought?’ and ‘what’s the weirdest thing you have ever bought?’.

The branch has trialled the video at one event so far, followed by a question and answer session for which there was great feedback and some very interesting questions from the students and hopefully budding procurement professionals of the future.

CIPS has also developed a toolkit for members to use to engage with young people which includes a presentation and mini workshop as well as a detailed brochure which includes detail on getting qualified. Dawn Wright, volunteer membership development manager at CIPS says, “We are delighted that our volunteers are picking up the gauntlet and engaging with young people to promote procurement as a profession of choice. We are working with CIPS South of England Branch to share their case study with other branches and working with volunteers to come up with ways in which we can inspire the next generation of procurement professionals.”

If you have been inspired then download the CIPSiBuy resources and reach out to young people in your region.


Chris Bruce FCIPS is supply chain & commercial director at Babcock International Group. Neil Clark MCIPS is BAE Systems category manager. Chris is chair and Neil is education liaison officer at CIPS South of England Branch.

Canary Wharf, London (Greater)
£33,119 - £37,209 pa
Canary Wharf, London (Greater)
£41,673 - £45,337 pa
CIPS Knowledge
Find out more with CIPS Knowledge:
  • best practice insights
  • guidance
  • tools and templates