Talent Shout Out (Feb 2021)

Posted: Friday 12th February 2021

Welcome to our first Talent Shout Out Blog!

We’ve got a great team here at STAR of whom we are very proud, and we want to unashamedly brag about them and their successes! So here is the first in our Talent Shout Out blog series.

After having had a fairly decent period of stability across the STAR team, two members of our team left at Christmas because they were both offered promotions outside of the STAR family. We were sad to see them go, but were very proud of them and what they had achieved whilst at STAR. Through our ‘Grow Your Own’ programme, they both benefited from the support and advantages this gave them, including studying towards their procurement qualifications as well as them both receiving promotions in their time with us.

Their departure has created multiple opportunities within the team. Benefitting from our ‘Grow Your Own’ programme, Liam Gilmore, Keely Hughes, Rachael Tither, and Lewis Sinkala have all been successful at securing promotions that they will start later this year. This, in turn, has opened up a number of opportunities that we are currently recruiting for:

2 x Category Managers
2 x Trainee Procurement & Business Support Officers

We wanted our 4 recent promotees to tell you in their own words their success stories whilst they’ve been at STAR. We are so pleased with their progress, and are delighted with some of the lovely things they’ve said about working at STAR.

By: Elizabeth Mckenna: Assistant Director – Delivery

Jump to: Lewis | Rachael | Keely | Liam

Lewis Sinkala: Category Manager – Adults - Lewis has secured a 12 month promotion to Senior Project Manager, helping us roll out our new Contract Management system.

I have been with STAR for 2 years, starting as a Procurement Officer within the Works category to my most recent role as Category Manager for Adults and Social Care. During my time here I have worked on strategic contracts for all our Partner that have delivered savings and embedded Social Value into each contract.

I will soon be stepping into a new role as Senior Project Manager to undertake a review of the strategic contracts across the four authorities. This will identify and implement opportunities for savings and efficiencies. In addition, I will be tasked with creating and delivering negotiation and commercial training to the wider STAR team.

I am looking forward to working closely with each of our Partners as well as supporting STAR in leading the way as an organisation that is commercial, but also focuses on innovation and Social Value.

STAR have continuously supported me to develop my knowledge and skillset as a procurement professional, and demonstrated their commitment by investing in my CIPS training. One of the biggest pros is the diverse and friendly colleagues!

Rachael Tither: Procurement Officer – People - Rachael has secured a 12 month promotion to Category Manager – Children & Education.

I have been a part of the STAR Procurement team for just over 2 years now, working as a Procurement Officer.  Some of my achievements to date include leading on and coordinating a number of Flexible Purchasing Systems for local Authorities, and also having awarded contracts which have generated cost savings, and many of which have been awarded to local providers promoting local spend – furthering STAR’s objectives.

I am also proud to have recently been involved in the latest round of recruitment which saw two of STAR’s Trainee Procurement Officers promoted to Procurement Officers. It’s always inspiring to see team member’s progression and I think it is a reflection on STAR and their commitment to developing their team through training, mentoring, support, and coaching which makes this possible.

STAR is investing in my CIPS training, and the support I have received from STAR and the dedicated study time I have been allocated has allowed me to study alongside my work and has really helped contribute towards my continuous professional development. I recently passed my first exam and look forward to achieving my CIPS Level 4 qualification in the near future.

Some of the key challenges in my new role moving forward will include supporting those recently appointed members of the team to make sure that they settle into their new roles, and also to continue to identify savings opportunities and any possible collaborative opportunities with the other STAR Councils.

I relish the new challenges ahead for me, I am extremely proud to be given the opportunity to grow and be a part of STAR Procurement’s growth and grateful that I get to work with such a friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful team.

Keely Hughes: Trainee and Business Support Officer - Keely has secured a promotion to Procurement Officer.

I have been with STAR Procurement 2 years now. I started as a Trainee Procurement Officer and have been successful on securing a promotion to Procurement Officer in the People Category. Over the past two years I have gained lots of experience and a variety of skills which have enabled me to progress in a career in Procurement. I have experience in working across two categories at STAR, Place and People, which were both very different and provided development opportunities in different ways.

Place involved managing multiple projects in line with the Services programme of works that were often time intensive and required a fast turnaround. This enabled me to develop a forward thinking approach and excellent project management skills to ensure that the Procurements were delivered on time and within budget, delivered high social value for the Council and comply with all Legal obligations.

People Category is different in that I now work on projects that are more complex, higher value, and run over a much longer period of time. My first Procurement in People was working on the Prevention contracts for one of our Partners which involved condensing 10 old contracts into 3 new ones that are a better fit for the Council and will help deliver significant savings and also allow the Council to work in a more efficient manner. Working on projects like this allowed me to have an input into developing specifications, working more closely with the internal project team, external providers and gaining knowledge and understanding around the Commissioning cycle which enhance my skillset further.

Working in Public Sector Procurement is both interesting and challenging with no day being the same. I am enjoying my current role at STAR in the People Category, keen to take on new projects that will continue to enhance my development and experience within this area. I also want to continue my professional development this year and study for CIPS/Project Management Qualifications whilst working which will ensure I have all of the key skills and attributes required to deliver a 5 star Procurement Service.

Liam Gilmore: Trainee and Business Support Officer - Liam has secured a promotion to Procurement Officer.

I have been part of STAR for the last four years now. I started out as STAR’s apprentice back in July 2017 where I found my new career in procurement, at that time I found it to be very complex with having no prior experience or knowledge in procurement as a whole, however, STAR soon changed that for me!

As an apprentice I went on to win two awards across Trafford Council for apprentice of the year.

I was then promoted to a Trainee Procurement & Business Support Officer back in August 2018 which is a role that I thoroughly enjoyed. Within this role I had the opportunity to learn and develop my procurement skills, increase my knowledge base around procurement law, all while developing and maintaining lots of other key skills that attributed to the role. STAR has invested in my CIPS training, given me the opportunity to study towards a level 4 diploma in procurement and supply alongside my full time role.

While I was in the trainee position one of the many things I am proud of is that I had the opportunity to lead on setting up a collaborative STAR wide Flexible Purchasing System for Payroll, Accountancy, and Fully Manged Account services; this has an estimated spend of £3.7M over its duration and provides financial support services to vulnerable adults and children and their carers.

As I move into my next role I am excited to work on more complex and higher risk/value projects, I want to look at influencing more collaborative procurements STAR wide in the hope to achieve better savings and wider social value, but all while ensuring the core role of the contract is fulfilled. On a personal level, I am hoping to go on to complete CIPS level 5 & 6 qualifications and obtain MCIPS.