The (Not So Secret) Diary of a New Starter

general 1 May 2018

As part of AKW Group’s succession strategy, Law graduate Jack Hewertson joined us in January as Management Trainee, embarking on an intense programme. Here, he details his journey as he comes to the end of his first quarter with us…

Week 1 – Excited Apprehension

New job, new apprehensions, an exciting new chapter in my life. I tried to overcome the jitters by getting stuck in. Starting on a three-day week, I can’t say I was eased in gently; the rocket pace of the office didn’t allow that! Everyone was friendly, making me feel right at home. The days flew by but by weekend I was undeniably exhausted!

Week 2 – Sink or Swim

My first full week felt daunting! I was relieved I remembered my learnings from the previous week. I worked on the Palletline account, as well as our Customer Service and Partner’s desks. I’m unsure of how all the pieces fit together, with the feeling of being swept along by a strong current although it was fairly quiet; it’s definitely sink or swim time. I began to grow accustomed to the early starts and enjoyed the varied days.

Week 3 – Emerging Independence

It felt great that I could now complete tasks independently; I began managing all paperwork. We trailed a new online portal system, attempting to eliminate paper from the business which was shows progressive thinking. Implementing changes where the status quo works proved challenging, but by the end of the week we learned that paperless is the way forward and everyone was on board. I look forward to rolling out the new system when the green light is given.

Week 4 – The Reliable One

I continued with my routine jobs paying close attention to detail. I want to be known as ‘the reliable one’. I began working more in depth on the Partner’s desk. Watching and listening intently, determined to add another string to my bow. Working closely with someone, you mould your mind like theirs, it’s about getting the basics right before progressing. Overseeing the whole Partner’s desk is a big responsibility, but I was ready for the next week to get stuck in!

Week 5 – Don’t be Afraid

In the absence of my supervisor, George Richards, Network Support Manager, I’ve been thrust into the spotlight. A baptism by fire. I have accumulated routine jobs, and I’ve also been learning the Partnerlink Desk. The current desk manager’s job is challenging; he must adapt and be creative in his trunking, tricks he’s gleaned during his long tenure here. I’ve no chance of knowing everything at this stage, however I’m confident I’d get the basics right, and for second opinions.  

It is better to get stuck in, don’t be afraid to ask if unsure, you learn and develop faster. Working together is truly the way forward. A new chapter can be daunting, but there’s always someone willing to help.

Week 6 – Adaptability is Essential

Refining my Partnerlink knowledge, my skills will be tested next week; I will pilot the desk, supervised by George. Straddling multiple jobs has been intense, but I’ve managed well without assistance. I’m becoming increasingly independent and look forward to Monday’s challenge.

This week has been a test of adaptability, which is essential in the office. I’m eager to broaden my repertoire of skills so I can be of assistance in all areas of the job and I have been able to practice this effectively.

Week 7 – The Driving Seat

In the Partnerlink driving seat! The challenge went well, my training proved effective, a big relief! The pressure and extra responsibility was a great experience. I’ve been approved to cover the desk going forwards.

I also joined training in how to manage the website content if cover was ever required. The system is very slick; the controls to create content simple and intuitive. I look forward to collaborating with Marketing to reinforce AKW’s positive image.

Another new training chapter commenced – subcontracting. I maintain a positive attitude and to learn the context: what is the desired goal? Who are the players involved? I am a visual learner so mapping out the various stages, and continually asking questions is key.

Week 8 – Communication is Key

“The Beast from the East” hit this week, which affected haulage considerably, a great insight into how fluid the transport operation is; if roads are closed, we must adapt. The team handled the adverse weather amazingly, they are clearly pros! I’m now two months into my training and comfortable working unassisted. On Monday I began handling subcontractors; but then the snow hit!

Much of the transport business is dealing with issues in real time, efficiently handling any variables that occur. Keeping everybody informed is integral; communication and adaptability is key. We survived without any major hiccups.

Week 9 – Playing Catch Up

We’ve been playing catch up because of the weather last week. This has consisted of reassuring customers their deliveries will be made ASAP. Some proved more challenging than others, but the team worked cohesively doing their utmost to get back on track. Patience has been essential, learning to deal with problematic issues outside our control. We’ve reactivated the paperless business model for the Partner’s, successfully eradicating teething problems with the IT department, a stride towards going live. Once we get every partner on board and familiar with the idea of a consolidated paperwork process it should make everyone’s job more streamlined, as well as creating a positive CSR impact.


Week 10 – First Sale!

Still catching up in the wake of ‘Beast from the East’. Collection points have been struggling with the backlog. It’s surprising how a few days halts so much transport; the effects are EVERYWHERE, but we’re taking everything in our stride.

The paperless initiative is going well. I’ve learned to keep a backup copy of virtual paperwork in case anything goes awry down the line. Being a Transport Operator requires adaptability; there’s not much routine, with constant new challenges. I now feel trusted to handle my responsibilities; my relationship with the team grows each week.

I made a Subcontractor sale, my first profitable transaction! A proud moment. I’m still grappling understanding this aspect of the job; ultimately, it’s the process of getting our freight moved through a third party for a profit, but more in-depth training will commence next week.

Week 11 – Learning Takes Time

I’m becoming accustomed to my routine, and my confidence improves each week. It’s always encouraging to see your efforts acknowledged; the appreciation I receive from the office is great.

I’m jumping into subcontracting now, a different aspect of the job. There’s always something unique happening, making for a varied day, something to be desired in most office jobs in my opinion; new challenges are stimulating. I’m working on establishing my preferred system to manage the workload. I tend to write things down and keep notes on the PC, but a more streamlined process could be key moving forward.

I’ve been more phone engaged this week; currently a bit like a receptionist passing calls all over the place! It’s a good indicator of what queries to expect. I’m also learning email queries, building up my repertoire so I can deal with everything ultimately! A long weekend in the Lake District feels well-earned after a busy week!

Week 12 – Bank Holiday Busy

Impending bank holiday means BUSY. Building confidence in subcontracting and working the phones last week is paying off thankfully! The office has been noisy and hectic which has been a lesson in stress management! On Thursday an IT issue put business back a few hours – which typically could not have come at a worse time! However, we got things back on track quickly. I’m concentrating on hitting my mark without error.

I made another profit on Wednesday; I feel like I am helping, and it builds on confidence, so taking that boost into the busy bank holiday has been a positive experience. It’s amazing to see the office working as a team maintaining a professional service in this busy time.

Week 13 – Concluded Quarter

The end of my first quarter has been bank holiday catch-up! I’ve been dealing with phone queries, email queries, putting balance jobs on, subbying, and other bits and bobs. I keep adding to my general duties each week, building up that tool box of skills to help ease day to day running’s of the business. I want to be a help not a hindrance so getting stuck in is a measured affair; rather than jump in and get it wrong, I make sure I know exactly what’s required then go for it.

My manager has been busy elsewhere so I’ve been left very much on my own. I’m glad to take on the individual challenge, I feel my training has been steady, building every week and so now I am fully confident every day, building working relationships and gaining confidence. With the praise I’ve received, I conclude the first quarter confident in my success, still learning every day.

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