Procurement Officer
Scottish Parliament

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Elizabeth B

00:00:02 My name is Elizabeth B and I’m a Procurement Officer at the Scottish Parliament.

00:00:08 It involves putting in place contracts for the whole of the Scottish Parliament to buy products and services, mainly to get best value for money for the Scottish Parliament which isn’t always necessarily the cheapest price.

00:00:22 I really enjoy it, there’s a lot of variation in what we do and, you’re not only just writing documents all day and writing reports you’re also getting out there and speaking to people, meeting people and doing a varied amount of work as well.

00:00:36 Initially I worked with Strathclyde Fire and Rescue where I started off as a clerical assistant undertaking admin in a procurement office. I then was upgraded to procurement assistant and that was mainly done by on the job training, gaining knowledge and experience on the job.

00:00:55 I undertook level 3 in supply chain management, that’s one of the starting points in a procurement career. Usually you could start at level 2, if you didn’t have any experience but it was level 3 if you’ve got a little bit of experience on the job.

00:01:12 First one the level 3 in supply chain management, that was an SVQ so that was on the job and that was really, really helpful because I hadn’t been in procurement for a long time, so doing it on the job allowed me to actually carry out the role as well as taking examples from the work and writing up reports on it. So that was really useful for me, and the level 4 that I’ll be going on to do next year that will be done at college, so that will probably be day release and I think that’ll be better now that I’ve got more experience in procurement.

00:01:44 I didn’t know what procurement was at school. I always knew I wanted to work in an office, I always thought that it was glamorous. So I always knew I wanted to work there, but I didn’t know anything about procurement until I started working with the fire brigade.

00:01:58 I was encouraged to take administration. IT I took the subjects like French and art because I enjoyed them and English as well, but the funny thing was that I never actually made my administration exam because I got the dates mixed up. So I thought from then on that, my career in office work and that was it. So it was quite funny how I actually ended up doing what I wanted to do.

00:02:23 I had a lot of friends at school I had a big social circle that reduces a bit when you leave school but that was, that was the main, I loved school because of the social circle.

00:02:34 So I’m not very active used to go to the gym some, it’s not something that I do quite regularly. Going to dinners with my partner and cleaning up after him in the house, so, not very exciting.

00:02:48 Even when I worked for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue never thought I could work for the Scottish parliament, so when I actually got invited for an interview that was, I was really proud and then actually when I left the interview I never thought I did very well and, completely thought I’d lost my chance so, then a week later I was offered the job. So that, not in my wildest dreams.

00:03:10 In the parliament there’s loads of scope for movement you’ve got purchasing officers to managers, to senior managers, so there’s always loads of scope to move up and it’s quite a big department as well. So I’ll either keep climbing the ladder in the Scottish parliament or I’ll stay here for a few years and, see what else is out there, there’s so many organisations and so much chance in private sector and public sector to go and do procurement.

00:03:40 Turning point for me would probably have been when I was working in the procurement section in Strathclyde Fire and Rescue and went from clerical assistant to senior clerical assistant. And at that point that’s when I started realising that procurement is what I wanted to do, and I started to ask about the qualifications and get more involved with the contact work and, that’s when I started moving away from admin duties to more contractual work. So that was probably the biggest turning point for me in terms of where I decided that was the career I wanted to choose.

00:04:15 END

Elizabeth B in a Procurement Officer at the Scottish Parliament. She gets the contracts for the goods and services the Parliament needs. She wanted office work when she was in school. She is getting training in the specialist area of procurement.

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.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
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Wholesale trade 13869
Head offices, etc 4271
Public admin. & defence 3485
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Architectural & related 2778
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Machinery, etc 1889
Employment status

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