Megan Wins Gold!
Our spotlight interview for the Linkline Yearbook is with Megan Yeates. Megan has come a long way from student member of the Institute while completing her degree in TU Dublin. She is now an active member of the Eastern Section of the Institute, a graduate with first class honours in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and a Gold Medal Winner in Freight Forwarding at the 45th Worldskills International Competition in Kazan, Russia in August this year. Also, her fellow teammates won a total of four GOLD Medals and BRONZE, plus a Best of Nation and seven Medallions for Excellence were won by Irish competitors at the event. Ireland are now ranked tenth in the WORLD for skills – congratulations to all.
Why did you decide to study in the logistics and supply chain industry?
Personally speaking, after my Leaving Certificate, I was still 17 and wasn’t sure of my study direction. So, I decided to take a year off and work, do some short courses and get myself educated about what courses were out there. I stumbled onto the industry during my year off and did a lot of research, see what different colleges offered course wise in the area and future job opportunities. I also knew I’d prefer a smaller class size for my future learning. That’s when I knew DIT / TU Dublin was the right environment for me as it was specialised in the area and ticked all my boxes.
The degree in TU Dublin also appealed to me as I studies a variety of subjects such as transport, health and safety, operations, supply chain management, and logistics but I also gained a real insight into business as those subjects were also covered.
How did you find the four years in TU Dublin on the BSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management?
Honestly, I absolutely loved and enjoyed every day of the four years. As I said the smaller classes were better for me and as it made for a more interactive learning environment. I also felt that the one on one lecture style and time with students a real bonus to learners. I got to work on many presentations for projects which helped with my communications skills and confidence. All round that type of learning environment suited me better.
The lecturers on the course were so supportive, even in fourth year I’d meet a lecturer from first year and they’d know your name and ask how I was getting on. TU Dublin is that type of environment, holistically, they know individuals need to grow and need to be nurtured and how to improve their weaknesses They really know how to get students ready for the working world.
In the second semester of third year, I opted to do a 16 week work placement in DHL Global Forwarding Road Freight. We had the option do this or study abroad for the semester which many of my class did and was a fantastic experience for them. I began my placement in January and after the 16 weeks DHL offered me a position fulltime until September when I returned to study my final year. I then stayed on with them two days a week while in my final year.
I also completed my CPC (certificate in professional competence in haulage) at end the end of my second year of study. It was advertised through the college and I took it on as a project myself.
You competed in Ireland Skills Live in March this year and won a place to represent Ireland in Russia – how did it feel to be part of the Irish competition knowing the importance of skills in the industry?
I didn’t realise the extent the importance of skills-based learning until I saw the emphasis on it in Europe. I’m more the wiser now after Kazan but in secondary school it really wasn’t as an option and the college agenda is more so pushed. Europe really has an innovative way of looking at things in those regards and understands that learning takes many different ways for students. And students need to know getting yourself educated in these ways are open to them and are great career options in the future. The whole stigma that’s associated with the likes of apprenticeships is such an old outdated image, young men and women have exciting careers ahead of them by choosing these options.
That’s why I feel Ireland Skills live is a great platform for second level students as there is so much more options available and areas of study I wasn’t aware of. I would love to see Ireland Skills Live become like the Higher Options Career Fair, that students would look forward even more to coming to the event and see people a year or two older than them competing in the national competition.
I also think the Logistics Apprenticeship programme complements the degree as students who would rather work get the opportunity to do so four days a week with one day of study. Those learners can then decide to enter year three of my degree and study fulltime or there are part time options to study onwards.
What did it mean to you to represent your country at Worldskills Kazan, Russia and how did you prepare?
I’m still on cloud nine, it’s so hard to put into words how it felt to walk out on stage when I heard my name called in front of 45,000 people carrying the Irish flag. It was mind blowing, and even looking back on the videos and photos of the ceremony it’s such an overwhelming feeling. It was an absolute honour and I’d do it all again! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be a part of such a global event, and I’m delighted I had the opportunity to be part of it.
For the preparation of the event myself and my teammates took part in ten weeks of intense training visiting many companies in the industry to learn from them. I did three bootcamps with Team Ireland which prepared me for the travel over, the logistics of my time there, what to expect from the competition, learning to rely on the team for support, and in general encouraging us on what was to come in August.
How has winning the Gold Medal changed you and your outlook on the industry?
Well I don’t think it’s changed me that much, I’m still the same person at the end of it all but with more confidence in myself and I know it will help in the future to progress my career. Before this year I’d never even hear of Worldskills, and now nearly a year later it has had a massive impact of my life.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak at the Aviva, Croke Park, go to Helsinki, Finland, I’m meeting the President later on this month, I’ve spoken at Leinster house – these are all the occasions money can’t buy. I’ve given interviews to the Irish times, the Independent, local Kildare newspapers and radio!
It’s been a whirlwind, and I’m doing at least one or two events every month since August that I’ve gone on to share my story. Even if I only inspire one person in the room then it is worth it.
What advice do you have for any individuals thinking of going into the industry?
There are so many opportunities in the industry and if you put the work in the world is your oyster! I’ve seen there’s always an element of logistics and freight forwarding in any company due to the fact we are an island. And this can bring you all over the world. Don’t think just because one aspect of the industry you are pigeonholed, if you are not enjoying that side you can move – the industry is vast and you can easily move within it. It’s a very people orientated industry, very sociable aspect to it and networking is extremely import – that’s how CILT has really helped me develop and meet members at events and site visits. You can see the effort the Eastern Section put into events and are so welcoming of new people to the group.
Finally, what next for Megan Yeats, the future and career – any ambitions?
Only time will tell with that! I’m currently working for Lidl in their Logistics Graduate Programme so that is my main focus for the next two years. I’m learning so much there and its such a great company to work for. Personally, I’d love to work in other countries, do some more travel, and see other cultures and be part of that. The Worldskills has changed my life and whatever opportunities come my way I’ll take and enjoy them. We’ll just see what happens next.
To read more about Megan during her competition time read her blog at: https://mylogisticslifejourney.home.blog/