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A new challenge

Before I joined the Co-op, I was working in the care industry, as a care manager. When I was made redundant in 2016, I’d spent about 15 years in care, and I’d never worked in another industry, but Co-op still considered my application. I applied for a warehouse operative position at Co-op’s Castlewood depot in 2016, and I’ve been with the company ever since. After working as a warehouse operative for a few months, I realised that moving in and out of warm and cold environments was affecting existing health problems, so I asked if other warehouse roles were available.

Time for a change

Co-op’s colleagues were really supportive, and eventually I moved into transport, to work as a support assistant. It was something completely new to me, and I had to get to know all the ins and outs of that side of the business. I was working with the management team on a daily basis, and thanks to my previous experience working as a manager, I learned the ropes faster than most. I quickly established myself as a transport team leader, and eventually became responsible for drivers, disciplinaries, and covering the team manager in their absence.

A new home

By January 2017, my role became permanent, and by August 2018, I became transport team manager at Co-op’s Castlewood depot. Co-op saw that my skills as a manager were transferable and gave me the support I needed to learn and grow. All of a sudden, I was managing a team of 30 drivers, and I had a lot more responsibility. I also had the opportunity to get involved in a variety of other logistics projects within the business, and I managed to get lots of experience under my belt in a short amount of time; so much so that I became the ‘go-to guy’ on important projects.

Biggleswade depot

When Co-op announced the opening of their Biggleswade depot, I was really interested in the transport lead secondment. It’s an amazing opportunity for me, and a chance to showcase all the new skills I’ve picked up throughout my career. I’ll be managing a team of 8 colleagues from across the Co-op network, and we’ll be training new starters from end-to-end. It’ll be rewarding to see people come in and progress their careers like I did. I can’t wait to get started!

Sarah Rice, Bigglewade Transport Lead

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