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Purchasing, Logistics and Supply Chain

  • Overview of the Sector

    The Purchasing, Logistics and Supply Chain functions are vital to all businesses and success in these areas can hugely contribute to a company's profitability making this an interesting area of work for graduates to consider.  

  • Typical Jobs in purchasing, logistics and supply chain management
  • What do I need to gain graduate employment?


    This sector is in general open to all disciplines although some employers may specify a relevant degree such as Business Management. There are also several relevant postgraduate qualifications available which will give you a distinct advantage and demonstrate your commitment to working in this field. Keep an eye out for courses accredited by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply or the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Alternatively you can aim to secure a role in the sector and then pursue professional qualifications later which your employer may offer funding towards. As an undergraduate you should seek to acquire some experience in retail as this will give you a good grounding particularly if you are interested in buying or retail merchandising. Retail experience will also help you to demonstrate commercial awareness as will any enterprise-related activities.


    Graduate Schemes and Internships

    • TK Maxx – Merchandising & Buying Graduate and Placement programmes and a Logistics graduate programme 
    • Marks & Spencer – offer a Buying Graduate Scheme, a Merchandising Graduate Scheme and a Supply Chain & Logistics Graduate Scheme. M&S also offer placements in Supply Chain & Logistics and shorter internships in Buying and Merchandising. 
    • Tesco – Graduate programmes in Procurement and Distribution and Fulfilment, and internships in Supply Chain.
    • DHL – Graduate programmes in Procurement and Global Forwarding and internships that include a supply chain rotation
    • Royal Mail - offer a Graduate Programme in Operations and Logistics Management
    • Nestle - offer a Supply Chain graduate scheme
    • Lidl - offer a graduate programme in Buying 


    Any typical student job in the retail sector which involves interacting with customers, generating sales, replenishing stock, maintaining the appearance of the store and undertaking stock-takes all provide a good grounding for a future career in this area of work.

    The Person :

    You need to be able to work under pressure as this can be quite a fast moving sector. Coupled with this you need to be able to react to problems and solve problems should they arise. You also need good communication and negotiation skills as you will be dealing with clients/customers/suppliers and staff within your own organisation from management through to employees on the shop floor. Commercial awareness is also very important as this sector is about procurement and transport solutions that minimise both cost and risk.

  • Key Employers

    Key Employers– Northern Ireland: Bombardier Aerospace, Henderson Group, Musgrave, Moy Park, Translink, Dunbia

    Key Employers– UK and Global: L’Oreal, Amazon, Arriva, First Group, Wincanton, Arcadia Group

  • Local / Northern Ireland Opportunities

    On Campus resources: MyFuture– paid and voluntary positions advertised

    Northern Ireland Specific:


    Job search websites specific to Northern Ireland include:


    Advertised roles: 

    • Check local job search websites
    • Check vacancy pages on professional association websites
    • Follow companies and organisations on Facebook and twitter and sign up for their newsletters


    Unadvertised roles & networking:

    • Connect with groups on LinkedIn
    • Contact employers, industry associations and sector bodies to show interest


Oonagh McArdle Head

Oonagh McArdle
BA (Hons) Geography
Lead Supply Chain Improvement and Sustainability Specialist at Dow Chemical
Read the full profile‌