Park Mains former pupil, Lauren Lochhead, whose own career in corporate procurement is off to a flying start, has gone back to school to encourage pupils to consider a similar choice of profession. She has also visited, St Andrews, Johnstone High, Paisley Grammar, Linwood High and St Benedict’s to promote careers in procurement and has plans to speak to pupils at Glennifer and Gryffe High Schools.

Lauren left school in 2011 and embarked on an Honours Degree in International Business with Management Science at Strathclyde University. Her studies involved learning about various problem solving and decision-making techniques but she had little opportunity to put her knowledge into practice when, after graduating, she was working part-time in a supermarket.

Lauren Lochead at Park Mains High

Keen to kick-start her career, Lauren applied for an 11 month paid graduate internship with Invest in Renfrewshire and joined the Corporate Procurement Team at Renfrewshire Council.

Of her own specialism, Lauren said; “I had never considered a career in procurement prior to my internship and, in all honesty, did not have much of an idea what procurement even was!”

In fact, procurement involves buying goods, services and works that the council needs to deliver high-quality services to the people of Renfrewshire. The Procurement Team works to get the best value for Renfrewshire’s residents and to generate fair opportunities for suppliers. The team also seeks to secure further benefits – like job opportunities – for our communities.

As a result of her experience, Lauren said; “Now I know that this profession has a lot to offer young people. I have enjoyed my work and have been involved in promoting careers opportunities in procurement; developing a leaflet, networking with professionals at different levels, and engaging with young people at various careers events.

“Procurement offers many exciting and rewarding career options and it was great to into schools and spread the word about these opportunities.”

Lauren is not the only graduate intern working with the Procurement Team. Jeremi Bielecki who attended Paisley Grammar School, James Watt College, and the University of the West of Scotland, graduated with an honours degree in Music Technology. He was working in a pub and developing his career in music when he applied for an internship and now feels that he is firmly on the path to a successful career in procurement. He said; “The best thing about my internship is that it helped me to discover a specialism that I might not otherwise have considered and now I have real professional experience and a strong interest in this growing field.”

The council’s Corporate Procurement Manager, Fiona Hughes said; “Because this is such a fast-growing profession, we have to recruit and develop talented people to meet the demands for our work. Both Lauren and Jeremi have been brilliant additions to our team and I really hope that they will pursue careers in procurement. Graduate internships have proved a really effective way for us to bring people into the profession.”

Invest in Renfrewshire, the council’s employability and business growth initiative runs a graduate internship programme for residents who are younger than thirty and who are unemployed or under-employed in jobs that are unrelated to their degree. Interns work on projects for either five or eleven months and are paid the Living Wage. So far, almost 200 Renfrewshire graduates have completed internships and four out of five of them have gone straight into jobs.

Local businesses interested in employing an intern or graduates who would like to become one can call 0141 618 7490 to talk to t Invest team. People with an interest in building a career in procurement can read Lauren’s ‘Quick Guide to Careers in Procurement’ on the council’s website,