Women in Merchanting

Women in Merchanting

Kerry Lockyer, Learning and Development Business Partner at Travis Perkins Group

“When I applied for a role in the Travis Perkins training team back in 2010, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard of Travis Perkins and some of the brands that make up the Group, but I had no idea that it was so big or that the industry it served was quite so diverse! I’d previously completed a Graduate Scheme with a large retailer after I left University. During this time I had turned my love of supporting, mentoring and developing others into a role in Learning and Development, which then became my career.

The thing that absolutely struck me on my first day in Travis Perkins was just how passionate everyone was about doing a great job, not only for our customers, but for each other. Everyone I met was genuinely interested in hearing my viewpoint. I remember being really surprised that a business so large and complex, with so many colleagues (already well over 20,000 at that point), still had that ‘family feel’. This is still as true today and it’s one of the many reasons I love working here!

During my time in the business, I’ve had the opportunity to work in many different roles, both within the Group and across the different divisions. I have always found that the most important things I have been judged on are my skills, abilities and the value I can add, rather than on any other factors. I’ve always had opportunities for personal growth and development of a breadth and depth that I’m not sure I would have received in any other business, including my recent completion of the CIPD Advanced Level 7 Certificate in HR.

Whilst it’s been a great career choice for me personally, I’d still love to see more women and more diversity within our industry, which is why I’m proud to be a BMF Ambassador.

I love that the Travis Perkins Group recognises the value a more diverse workforce can bring to colleagues and customers alike. Our “Workforce with a Difference” approach is working hard to attract more women into the industry and people from all parts of our society.

At a recent Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony, around half of our apprentices receiving awards were women. That’s really something to be proud of and the Apprenticeship Team lead by Louise Powell has ambitious plans around our response to the Apprenticeship Levy.

In 2017, more than a quarter of our apprenticeship intake were female. We want to bring this up to 50% over the next five years. Whilst this is certainly ambitious, we have a clear strategy in place to make it achievable.

Recently, part of my role has been to deliver programmes that develop a pipeline of future leaders. It has been important to me to help colleagues realise that they need to think differently about how they build inclusive, diverse teams. To this end, we now include a module on ‘Unconscious Bias’ within our Leadership Programmes. It’s been a privilege to witness the shift in mindset that this simple, powerful, module has created.

The Group has also been investing in other great initiatives that support women in the workplace; sponsoring colleagues through the all female Duke of Edinburgh Award to develop their confidence and leadership skills, whilst building a future talent pipeline, and increased holiday for those returning from maternity leave are just a couple of examples.

All these initiatives have helped the Travis Perkins Group to triple the amount of women in senior roles since 2008, with four having reached the role of Managing Director.

With continued focus on our ‘Workforce witha Difference’ approach, combined with the exciting developments to the Apprenticeship Programmes, the future really is an exciting place for women in our industry!

Pictured L-R: Kerry Lockyer with Laura McCaig (former Management Apprentice and now Assistant Branch Manager at City Plumbing Supplies in Warrington)

This article was featured in the Winter 2017 edition of the BMF’s One Voice magazine

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