Denise talks about combining full-time work and study: “It’s tough, but I’ll be proud when I get my qualifications”

Her morning starts with a half-hour snooze before jumping on the bike to break in her working day with a mug of fresh ginger tea. This is the normal start to the day for Denise van de Panne (23). Denise has been working in the Gpi business office  since 2018. The office provides support and supervision for production and is responsible for logistics.

It would appear from her detailed explanation that her job requires multiple talents. Here she describes her working day: “We maintain close contact with various logistics companies to arrange transport internally and externally, to and from suppliers and to customers. If we’re not carrying out on-site installation, I’m involved with all transport movements and coordinate these with the logistics companies involved. I also buy in any ancillary equipment needed to produce the tanks, such as work clothing and filler wire for welding.”

Denise took vocational qualifications for Commercial Business Management. “I started the course with the idea of using the qualifications for our family-run fruit and vegetable business. But due to a change of circumstances, the company ceased trading and I found a job at Gpi instead. The job wasn’t advertised, but I heard they needed help on the business side of things and I had previous experience with our own family business. I got in contact with them and, well, two years later the rest is history.”

‘Every day is different’

On Mondays Denise attends weekly production planning meetings, and team meetings every morning. “I get pretty involved. We’re never quite sure at the start of the day how it’s going to pan out, but that’s what makes the job so interesting and rewarding. The work suits me, because I like the mix of activities.” The fact that Denise is the only female in the office doesn’t worry her: “I’m absolutely fine about working with men. I know exactly where I’m at and they don’t beat about the bush. I like that kind of directness.”

After-sales

Another part of her duties involves after-sales. “For example, if after a few years a customer needs a couple of new parts for a tank, it’s me who deals with the order. Sometimes it’ll take a bit of chasing up, but I enjoy helping customers out and it’s always good when new orders are placed.” In addition, she helps with the production manager’s and work planning’s paperwork. The diversity of her work means that there is a wide variation, but work does have a tendency to pile up. “I’m not very good at saying no,” Denise admits, “so it can sometimes be quite challenging.”

Training

To broaden her knowledge, Denise is now following a one-year higher vocational course in Logistics & Supply Chain Management paid for by Gpi and that means working five days a week at Gpi and studying in the evenings and at weekends. “Combining work and study is not always easy,” she explains. “It’s tough, but I’m looking forward to finishing my studies and will be proud when I get my qualifications.”

Over the next few years Denise hopes to gain some more work experience and apply the know-how gained from her studies: “I’ve certainly landed on my feet here and know what’s what. I feel at home, there’s a good camaraderie and everyone’s prepared to help each other.”

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