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Cambridge Commodities Developing Apprentices into Leaders

Since 2011, Cambridge Commodities (CCL) has offered apprenticeships to individuals from the local community as a means of helping people to take the first step towards a career.

More than 16 apprentices have gone on to develop themselves and their careers within the business; in 2016, CCL was presented with an award for Outstanding Commitment to Apprenticeships by MP Lucy Fraser at its new Ely headquarters.

National Apprenticeship Week (6th-10th March 2017) saw some of the company’s successful apprentices embark upon a bespoke experiential leadership training programme.

Cambridge Commodities HR Manager, Marie Lee said: “At CCL we are very supportive of apprenticeships and how they can positively impact our business.  We currently have three employees who are on apprenticeship programmes, and are seeking two further apprentices within our finance and operations teams.  Our main drive at CCL is to upskill and develop our teams to foster personal and business growth.  To support our plans, we appointed the Lighthouse group to deliver our new exciting and bespoke Experiential Leadership Development Programme.  Many of our employees have previously completed apprenticeship programmes and have progressed into leader and management level roles.  The leadership programme will be the next phase of the developmental journey for our leaders and managers. We look forward to supporting them in their progression at CCL.”

James Salter, director of Lighthouse (Training and Development) Ltd commented: “When an organisation like CCL is growing quickly, it is vital to invest in developing the next generation of leaders. We have partnered with CCL to create a bespoke programme to cultivate leadership skills at all levels. It is inspiring to see employees who have previously completed apprenticeships now joining this programme as they move on to the next stage in their careers.”


Case Studies

Leadership trainees Ed Richardson and Tania Oughton tell the story of their apprenticeship journeys:

Ed Richardson, Facilities Officer

I initially joined CCL four years ago as a cleanroom operative before moving into the warehouse where I was elected as member of the health and safety team. I enjoy learning new things and overcoming challenges, so when a new role became available due to the expansion of the company I leapt at the chance to become a facilities officer.

To aid the development of the role, and myself, I began a facilities management apprenticeship. On completion of the apprenticeship I have increased my knowledge, improved my skillset and have grown in confidence. I have since completed an IOSH course and am enrolled in a leadership development programme to develop my skills as a leader and help me to move towards a management role within the company. I’m very happy and thankful that CCL has taken the time to improve me and the company through training.


Tania Oughton, Purchasing Executive (one of our first apprentices)

I have now been working at CCL for 5 years. I started as a purchasing assistant helping my manager to place orders and gather prices. Over the years I have gained more confidence in my role. I now have the title of purchasing executive with responsibilities such as project management, arranging manufactures and sourcing products and pricing for the sales team efficiently within this very diverse and changing company. My role has enabled me to attend exhibitions within the UK and Europe; I also get to travel around frequently, seeing sights outside of the office.

Completing an apprenticeship has benefitted me as I am in a job that I never would have expected to be in and never would have thought of without the apprenticeship scheme. It has helped me to gain knowledge in a field I knew little about when I first started and has set me up for a lifelong career. I have also been enrolled on the leadership programme in order to develop and become a more rounded leader.  My future ambitions are to carry on in my current role and gain extra knowledge in the field to help me achieve more and benefit the company.


Current apprentices Alicia Bedford and Ash Bean explain how apprenticeships have helped their career development. 

Alicia Bedford, HR Assistant

I finished my Level 3 qualification in Human Resources in February 2016 which I completed on my own. I decided to look for a new job where I could put my new skills into practice. I started at CCL as a HR Assistant in May 2016, main reasons being that I could utilise the skills and knowledge learnt in my level 3 and also because I would be enrolled onto an apprenticeship to gain my level 5 qualification with a look to furthering my career within CCL and becoming a HR Executive.

I started my apprenticeship at Cambridge Regional College in June 2016 and aim to complete it in November 2017. I am thoroughly enjoying the course; I’ve learned lots of new skills, my knowledge base is expanding and I’m gaining a lot more confidence. CCL has been amazing throughout the process with paid study leave and support from my manager.


Ash Bean, QC Team Leader

I am approaching my one year anniversary of joining CCL. I was initially brought on as a quality apprentice, learning the roles and responsibilities of a position I had never held before. After five months I was promoted to quality control team leader, so I must have been doing something right. I am happy to be continuing my apprenticeship as it has taught me a lot about how businesses operate and the rules and regulations they must adhere to. I aspire to continue my career in the quality department and perhaps one day become a quality specialist.

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