Approaching my 50th birthday, I started to reflect on my career in Logistics & Supply Chain, over the past 35 years. Through my educational journey opportunities opened up, as my professional network grew. While I had considerable experience behind me, it was education that empowered me to leverage this experience and channel it towards my career development.
I grew up in a warehousing environment at the tender age of 16. Having spent the next 25 years acquiring all aspects of logistics and freight forwarding skillsets I decided it was time for me to match this experience with academic achievements.
So I made the big leap of faith to go back to school on a part-time basis. The first programme I undertook was a year long FIATA diploma run by the IIFA. I was hooked from the start, and very early on, I started to plot an academic course that would lead me to achieving a business degree. Once completed, I enrolled in a 2 year, level 6, Logistics & Supply Chain Management diploma course run by CILT – where upon completion, I became a chartered member of CILT. All the while, I was honing my skillsets and expanding my ever increasing network of logistics professionals and academics.
Finally, after 3 full years of part-time courses, I enrolled in the only Logistics & Supply Chain Management part-time degree programme available. But there was one snag! – the course was held on Saturdays in CORK! So every Saturday me and 3 fellow Dublin based students car-pooled the 7 hour round trip to study in the fantastic national marine college campus in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.
Two things happened to me the following summer – I graduated with a degree from CIT, and I moved job to take a role as Logistics Manager for one of the worlds leading IT Cloud providers. This exposed me to a totally new industry and came with global travel.
Having taken a break from studies for a year, I was ready to going again, this time to achieve something that I never thought was possible 5 years earlier. I enrolled in TU Dublin’s part-time Master degree programme in Supply Chain Management. The course offered me the flexibility to continue to study in selected subject modules which I loved while allowing me to balance work demands and pursue my career objectives.
To complete this Masters programme, you must complete 9 very comprehensive modules, and to conclude you are required to deliver a 20,000 word dissertation, a thesis relating to supply chain management.
Over the course of 4 years, I underwent 9 modules, choosing to select such modules as Finance, Customer Service, Business Strategy, HR, Transport & Warehousing and Supply Chain Flow Design. This year, my 5th and final year, I completed my dissertation on the subject of gender inequality within supply chain leadership. The dissertation was entered and accepted for the prestigious 2020 LRN conference.
While still undergoing my masters degree studies, I joined ATC, as General Manager, in Feb 2018. The level of education offered by the masters programme in TU Dublin enhanced and empowered my leadership skills. Leading teams of people is as critical as strategic implementation in my role. The Masters degree programme has equipped me to leverage my experience of both hard and soft leadership skills – allowing me to mentor and strengthen our internal teams as we strive to exceed our customers expectations.
If there is one big lesson I’ve learnt from my experiences – it’s knowing that experience alone will only get you so far – education and experience will take you anywhere.
To this end ATC has been a strong advocate of the Logistics Associate Apprentice (LAA) programme, run by TU Dublin in conjunction with FTA Ireland, ATC has supported this initiative from the very outset. This is the very first apprentice programme of its kind in Ireland and is a gateway for young people into our profession, that leads to both on-the-job experience and a recognised academic level 6 diploma.
As I always tell our newly starting apprentices, for me at all started with such a level 6 diploma! Today I’m proud to say I’m General Manager of ATC, leading some great teams of highly committed people in a very exciting market. I’m also the outgoing committee chairman of FTA Ireland, member of the LAA consortium and chartered member of CILT.
Oh and yes – I’m looking forward to the graduation day of my masters degree, along with my 50th birthday! – while planning my next educational journey ?