Oliver Scragg is an undergraduate International Business Management student, currently undertaking a placement year at supply chain management powerhouse Wincanton’s BAE Systems site in Blackburn.

International Business Management student Oliver Scragg and academic supervisor, Sandra Donnelly.
International Business Management student Oliver Scragg and his academic supervisor, Sandra Donnelly.

“I love the city of Manchester, and while I could have chosen any of the Manchester universities, employability is really important to me in terms of my degree, which is why I chose the University of Salford. Salford Business School offer a placement year as part of my course: something not offered by the other Manchester universities,” explains Oliver.

Having taken work experience during his GCSEs, Oliver learned the value of experience early. He chose to take a placement year with Wincanton because of his interest in logistics and warehouse operations, sparked by the International Logistics and Distribution Management module which Oliver chose to study in his second year at Salford.

“Wincanton really value some of the things I’m interested in, like sustainability,” says Oliver. “I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with electrical vehicle trials, organising the transportation of lorries, analysing data and presenting the results back to customers. I’ve also helped Wincanton to deliver their one year plan to make the business more sustainable.”

Oliver has had the opportunity to travel down to London with Wincanton, as well as the option to pursue training courses to develop his people and project management skills.

Sandra Donnelly, Lecturer in Business Sustainability and Ethics at Salford Business School, is Oliver’s academic supervisor.

“The quality of Oliver’s reflections has been outstanding, and really demonstrate his depth of learning about the organisation and his own professional development,” she said.

“Students really do have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing a placement – we often see a marked increase in their confidence when they return to complete their final year studies. It might be out of your comfort zone, but it really does help students to gain the skills and professional behaviours that are needed when entering the employment market, as well as allowing students to apply classroom learning to a real world setting.”

In January 2024, Oliver was awarded the Driver Innovation Award, an accolade hotly contested across the whole of Wincanton.

“I’d recommend taking part in a placement year,” adds Oliver. “You have to be strong-willed, thick-skinned and ready to learn, but you learn skills and resilience through your placement. I’d say have the confidence to be proactive about your work: your placement really is what you make of it!”

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