Explore: Manufacturing

Procurement Officer
MBDA Missile Defence Systems

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Beth Sherbourne

My name is Bethan S. I currently work as a procurement officer and I’m still a business trainee at MBDA. We make missiles, so I get all the verbal batteries that go into all the missiles here, I buy them all in.


After doing quite well at school, I got good grades, good GCSEs, I went on to Rushmore college. I did my A-levels. I did 3 A-Levels and did pretty well in those as well. My tutors really wanted me to go on to university; they were pushing me to go to Uni. I applied to Lancaster university and I was accepted but I kind of felt there might be something better out there, there might be something a bit different and after watching some of my friends that were a bit older, go to university get in to debt, still be working in Tesco where I was working at the time, I thought there might be just another opportunity. One day my mum was on the internet and she actually saw this advert pop up and my dad remembered that he’d come here on a tour, because he’s a technology teacher, and he was like oh it looks fantastic. I got taken around by apprentices and they’ve a got really good scheme going there so I thought yeah, I’ll have a go for it.


In some ways I think well I missed out on the uni life a bit but on the other hand, here at MBDA there’s so many young people. We have a really good young person community. I wanted to be earning. I wanted to be earning money; I wanted to pay my own way.  I didn’t want to be relying on my mum and dad for things, I wanted to be independent and do it on my own and this job offered that as well as getting the qualifications.


Someone came into our school when was around 16 talking about doing apprenticeships but I never really, I had a bit of a different perception of them. I thought you know that maybe if you were hands on that’s what you could go and do. That’s what a lot of people here are, the training, engineering more of the hands on manufacturing, but there are actually opportunities for people who are interested in business as well so I’ve been trained on the job doing business for four years as well as learning it at university at the same time. So I get the academic qualifications as well as the work experience.


I started out on shop floor and then you’re just thrown in. You’re thrown into a number of different placements. I started in supply chain and they move you around to where they need someone helping them out as they wanted to give us real work to do they don’t just want to plonk us with someone and let us shadow them.


I do a full day at work then I leave from here and go straight to university. My classes run from 6-9 and then on the Thursday I had another class which was in the morning but then I was given the afternoon for time to do my University work, which I really needed and was really really beneficial. So those hours that I did work on the Wednesday evening were credited back to me so I had time to do my university work.


It was really difficult to do, working full time as well as doing a degree. My administrator was really quite fond of me I think she liked the work that I did.  She nominated me for the business administration award, the Alliance Learning Business Administration Aware and I actually won that so that was brilliant. Then on the night they also awarded an overall apprentice of the year so everyone who had won an award was put in for this further award and I actually won that as well which was fantastic. Earlier this year I also won the apprentice of the year for MBDA as well so. It’s good because you get a lot of recognition and that does help to motivate you. It pushes you to go on and do more. The benefits that are offered by this company are just too good really, you can’t compete with them. I am looking to stay here and I want to progress. Hopefully I’ll be able to work my way up that ladder and get into a good position.

Bethan joined MBDA on their apprenticeship scheme after completing her A-levels, despite being offered a place at university. She loves being able to combine academic qualifications with working and has recently been award a degree. She is a great ambassador for apprenticeships having won an award for apprentice of the year last year.

More information about Buyers and procurement officers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

43%  male 
57%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Buyers and procurement officers organise and undertake the buying of raw materials, equipment and merchandise from manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and other sources for wholesale distribution, resale or for own internal use.
There are no formal academic requirements although some employers expect A levels/H grades, BTEC/SQA awards or degrees. Employers may ask for specific experience for a particular role. Professional qualifications and NVQs/SVQs in Procurement at Levels 2, 3 and 4 are available.
  • Attends trade fairs, shows and demonstrations to research new product lines and suppliers, checks catalogues;
  • Keeps up with market trends and chooses products/services;
  • Assesses budgetary limitations and customer requirements and decides on quantity, type, range and quality of goods or services to be bought;
  • Assesses bids from suppliers, finds suppliers and negotiates prices;
  • Helps negotiate contract with supplier and specifies details of goods or services required;
  • Looks at ways to improve supply networks, presents new ideas to senior management team;
  • Ensures that delivered items comply with order, monitors quality of incoming goods and returns unsatisfactory or faulty items, monitors performance and makes sure targets are met;
  • Supervises clerical, administrative and warehouse distribution staff, deals with recruitment and training;
  • Works closely with merchandisers who allocate stock and develop sales forecasts;
  • Maintains records and prepares reports as necessary.
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Machinery, etc 1889
Employment status

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