Trainee to Trainer; The Progression of George Richards

general 05 January 2018

For successful AKW Graduate Management Trainee George Richards, 2018 started with a bang, as he sped into a prestigious new role as the group’s Network Support Manager...

George will be responsible for training protégé Jack Hewertson, a Law graduate with a similar history to George, who has filled the newly vacated Management Trainee position.

George joined AKW in the winter of 2015, escaping the unsociable hours as a Pizzaiolo Chef for Pizza Express to climb the ranks of AKW from the ground up. As a Transport POD Clerk, George wasted no time in immersing himself into the office, soaking up every bit of information he could. His eagerness and enthusiasm lead to him quickly being promoted and in January 2016, George was enrolled into AKW’s Management Trainee Programme. Reflecting on this promotion, George adds, ‘I believe my willingness to take on anything management tasked me with allowed me to prove quite early I was learning and wanting to progress.’

Thrown headfirst into his assignment, George thrived in the new role. As well plunging into the daily challenges of Transport office, George propelled through his bespoke training programme within the next 12 months, although admits ‘as business became busier it was harder to monitor my training progress and easier to just muck in myself’. His hands-on approach and innate capabilities organically ticked many boxes the programme outlined. George’s potential was recognised outside of the business by April 2016, when he was invited to speak in front of a global audience at the International Road Union World Conference, in Tbilisi, Georgia. George confidently held his own to speak about the aging industry demographics, and the importance of young successors to keep it alive.

On his return from Georgia, George was tasked with mastering international freight planning, and used the summer to volunteer in any role that required holiday cover, enabling him to practice the knowledge he had acquired. This exposure to all departments allowed George to expand his talents, and from here he decided to focus solely on operations rather than branching into other areas of the business.

From Jan 2017 George began to refine the knowledge he had acquired, spending a large amount of time with mentor Ryan Frame, Traffic Manager, to guide his training development. Not content with only professional progress, during this time George also founded Rock ‘n’ Roll band ‘The Big Peach’ with his brother and some friends, frequently performing George’s compositions on the Manchester music scene.

When a Palletline operative unexpectedly left the business in October 17, George jumped at the opportunity to learn their system, and excelled in covering the vacant role. The recognition of his learning agility lead to George’s January 18 promotion, where he has been given responsibility for a small team of people who deal with Partnerlink and the Sub-contracting.

This is where Jack comes in, the new Management Trainee who’s upskilling will be George’s responsibility. Graduating Uni with a 2:1 in Law, to which he attributes his ‘discipline, dedication and attentiveness to detail’, Jack took a year out to gain work experience via placements and shadowing, with the aim of applying for training contracts once he had gained some practical knowledge.

Having been a Rugby comrade with George at school, the two are well set to build a successful working relationship, with Jack adding, ‘I feel we both share the same values of earning respect and being part of a cohesive team. We both want to do our jobs the best we can and influence the business in a positive way.’

George summarises, ‘My goals for this time are to grasp the art of management, making sure my team are working in the most efficient way possible whilst still being motivated and enjoying their time at work. Personally, my goals are to have the band recognised by a record label and begin to get noticed within in the music industry’. Ambitious words from some ambitious young men!

Interested in joining the next generation of leaders at AKW? Send your CV to [email protected] outlining your experience for consideration.

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