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A day in the life of a CPC RPA

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One of our newest Regional Procurement Advisors (RPAs), Emma Middleton joined us in June, having spent more than a decade at the University of Warwick, where she progressed to the role of Procurement Operations Manager. 

Here’s a peak into Emma's life at CPC, as an RPA for the South West and Wales.

It’s a chilly start to the day; the clocks have just gone back and what was a relatively mild October has given way to a crisp November morning. My working day normally starts around 8:30am and I check in with my emails to find a notification of a new member in one of my regions. I normally follow up with my new members ASAP after they sign up to arrange a meeting that provides an overview of the support on offer from both myself and the rest of the CPL Group.

9am brings a weekly catch up with the rest of the Regional Procurement Advisor (RPA) team. Working from home most of the time, it’s important to keep in touch with the rest of the team to share updates on what’s going on with the members in their regions, to talk through any issues and share opportunities for training and collaboration, as well as identify opportunities for our members.

At 10am, I have a meeting with a school business manager in the south-west of England; they’re new to the CPC, so we talk about frameworks and how their day-to-day purchasing operates. I show them the CPC website, our range of frameworks, our training opportunities, and the support we can offer in getting the most out of their procurement activity, including our free procurement advisory service. The meeting takes place virtually, but I always like to conduct onsite visits wherever possible, depending on the member’s preference.

Late morning, and on my second cup of tea, I catch up on a webinar hosted by the CPC and Dukefield Energy. Peter and Nick update us on the state of the energy market and the challenges our members will be facing due to increased costs, as well as what support the government are offering to help the sector through. We’re encouraged to keep up to date with market trends and best procurement practice, so we can offer the best possible guidance to our members.

Lunchtime and I’m out and about with Chippy, my terrier cross, with a brisk stroll around our local park. The CPL Group is really committed to supporting employee’s mental and physical wellbeing, it’s officially a ‘Great Place to Work’. It’s really refreshing that you’re encouraged to step away from the laptop and get out in the fresh air on your break. Chippy is also grateful of the opportunity to keep active and chase some leaves.

After lunch, the RPA team catch up with our Head of People Management. We receive an update on the future of CPL Learning and the fantastic training opportunities we currently have for our members, as well as what’s coming up for the future. We also discuss what’s next for the Procurement Advisory Group following our autumn network meetings in our respective areas. The group is aimed at procurement professionals working in the education sector and is a great opportunity to discuss best practice and engage with other local colleges, Universities and trusts and I would encourage anyone working in procurement in the sector to join this brilliant network of professionals in their local area.

Around 4pm, I took a call from a college in the south, looking some procurement advice around an above threshold tender they were running, concerned about the risk of a challenge. We spend some time talking through their options about how to approach the issue and what the possible outcomes might be. They went away much calmer, armed with a plan on how to address their issue.

Lastly, another brew in hand, I catch up on paperwork and any emails that have come in throughout the day that I’ve not picked up between meetings. I follow up with the SBM I met earlier in the day to signpost opportunities to make savings on their purchasing, upskill in procurement and to offer support, if needed.

Whether you’re a small primary school, an FE college or a large Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), there is support available through the CPC and I’d highly recommend engaging with your dedicated Regional Procurement Advisor to discuss how we can help you to get the most out of your free membership.

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