Adopt a School

CIPS has been asking members to encourage young people to consider a career in procurement by going into schools and delivering a careers presentation, which many of you have already done.  We’d now like members to form a longer lasting relationship with schools to offer support under our Adopt a School initiative.

Schools are under increasing pressure to get students ready for the world of work, as well as pass formal exams.  Teachers are actively encouraged to form relationships with people in business to give students an insight into the different industries and sectors, provide advice with their CV or help them to gain some work experience.

    How to get involved

    It’s easy to get started as we have developed resources and formed partnerships to help you get in touch with schools, but you are really pushing on an open door. You can register with Inspiring the Future if you’d rather not contact a school directly; they act as a matching service for schools and people in business.

    Our resources

    School Introduction Letter

    This letter template explains the aims of the Adopt a School programme, allowing you to also personalise it with your own messages. 

    Our IBuy website 

    This website is a one-stop-shop for teachers, careers advisers and young people to find out more about a career in procurement and supply. There is information on routes to entry, CIPS qualifications and apprenticeships as well as career tips and case studies.  There are marketing materials, brochures and a poster that you can request for your school for their careers library.

    What is Procurement Presentation

    We have developed a presentation that explains the complexities of procurement from getting the right price, right place right time etc right through risk management, sustainability to driving innovation and creativity. Each section has a sample case study with notes or a generic slide to add your own story.

    The Pizza Puzzle

    The Pizza Puzzle is a sort workshop that goes very well with the presentation slides helping the students to consider what they have heard and put it into a problem scenario to solve. This is based on a sourcing dilemma encouraging student to unpick issues that they might have with sourcing fresh produce on behalf of a pizza manufacturer.  The workshop and presentation take approximately an hour and is suitable for ages 14-19.

    The Mini Negotiation Challenge

    This mini competition is a combination of classroom learning about the techniques used to negotiate effectively followed by groups working together to work out how they would take a negotiation with different scenarios.  This pack includes slides, a lesson plan and scoring criteria for the scenario round.  This can take 2-3 hours so it is often split across two lessons with the classroom learning taking part first.

    Mini Negotiation Challenge Resources

    Briefing document
    Session Plan
    Negotiation Teaching Slides
    Negotiation Dilemmas
    Negotiation Dilemmas with Answers
    Student Certificate

    Case studies

    We’ve also got some case studies from people who have already made a start to help you get some inspiration.

    Steve Hanrahan is a category manager in the John Lewis Partnership Procurement team who have recently adopted Furze Platt Senior School in Maidenhead. “We wanted to get more involved with encouraging young people to think about a career in Procurement and show them how exciting it can be. It’s also incredibly rewarding both personally and for our business to play a part in developing future Procurement professionals.” says Steve.

    Steve contacted Fiona Wood a CIPS Fellow, who teaches ‘A’ level and GCSE Business and Economics at the school and arranged a visit to see how they could offer support. “The first meeting was as much about finding out what the school wanted from us as well as what we could offer so we both went away with a lot of questions. I didn’t realise just how much help we could offer the students, I’ve already helped one young man out with some tips on his CV.” Steve adds.

    The school are delighted to have the support from Steve and his colleagues at the John Lewis Partnership.  Fiona Wood said, “I’m very excited by this new venture, it’s a great opportunity for the students to hear from industry experts. The support that the students from Furze Platt will gain will be ‘CV gold dust’ to them.  Not only will it help them to understand the world of work more, but it will make them stand out from their peers in other schools in terms of UCAS, college and job applications.”

    The initiatives so far include a stand at the schools careers fair, a presentation on ‘what is Procurement’ and the negotiation competition.  Steve said “We decided to start off with a few projects and make sure we get it right, but we hope to develop more ideas around other competitions and work experience placements next year.”

    The project has the full support from Tanya White, Head Teacher of Furze Platt Senior School. “We are very pleased to be engaged with Partnership Services to support our young people in their transition to the workplace. This is a great initiative that CIPS have launched and I would urge other businesses to contact their local schools to offer support.”

    Work experience

    Why not invite a student to join your team for a week work experience.  It could be much easier than you think. Through our work with young people we have been surprised at their grasp of business issues and thirst for knowledge.  Gone are the days of filing and photocopying for a week, young people are looking to get actively engaged in real business issues.

    When the learning and development department at UCLH asked Procurement Director Pia Larsen if she’d take on a work experience placement she jumped at the chance. “I’m very much a say yes and find a way to make it work person so I was quick to take this opportunity. I’m also very passionate about promoting procurement and already support a local university.”

    University College London Hospitals (UCLH) is an NHS foundation trust based in London with a procurement team of approx. 25.  During the last year they have had six students, along with two interns from a Dutch Logistics School for a longer term placement.

    “This was a great opportunity to give young people an insight into our business, how we work internally with other departments and where procurement fits into the organisation.” said Pia.

    ULCH had the students taking calls for requisitions for surgical gloves, scalpels etc on the first day, seeing how these items are managed in the stores department, through to observing the items being used in a live surgical procedure on their final day. 

    “We wanted the students to understand that procurement is an integral part of running the trust, and what we do help to support the delivery of patient care.

    “It was initially hard work to set up this initiative up, but now we have a programme it is much easier.  At the end of the week it is nice to have positive feedback from the students on what they get out of their week with us.  We get to understand what young people can contribute, despite having a lack of knowledge when they start, but by the end of this week we find what they have learnt about procurement and its importance within the organisation.”


    "The feedback from the students has been great so far. One student said “My work experience with the UCLH procurement department was amazing. For me personally, the team has made procurement a possible job / career I would love to do. I learnt many things during my very short seeming week. I had done challenging things like calling people up for requisition details and answering calls, the way I had to speak on the phone, to find a solution to problems fast and efficiently and to keep a record of the correct and valid information on the program set up in the procurement department. I met staff who I call friends due to their understanding and kindness throughout the week not only did I learn a lot of skills but I got to know most of them and how they are where they are! Going to the heart hospital, cancer Centre and their pharmacy , UCLH and their inside pharmacy and also UCLH theatres was also an eye opening experience. Touring around and seeing how the equipment we help to order is being used, the situations they face and the key vital role procurement is to the whole of UCLH was truly great. I loved every bit of the week especially in the theatres and on the help desk.”

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