A day in the life of Zac Millar, Port Management Graduate, Southampton Region.

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Can you tell us more about what you did before you joined ABP?

Before joining ABP, I completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Bath which included a placement year in Australia. I then went on to complete a Master’s degree at the University of Southampton.

What did you find most appealing about a Graduate role at ABP?

When looking for graduate opportunities, the most appealing part of the ABP Graduate Scheme that stood out to me was the variety that it offers.

The scheme provides secondments within operations, marine, cruise, commercial, business strategy and an out of region placement, so there is an opportunity to learn about several different areas within the business and this really caught my attention. These varied opportunities and experiences will help me gain a well-rounded understanding of the business and all the different departments that contribute to the success of the company as a whole company. These experiences will also provide me with the learning opportunities and skills required for what will hopefully be a long and successful career at ABP.

Growing up in and around the Southampton area, I had a strong awareness and appreciation of the port and its history as well as the important role it plays in supporting the local and national economy. This motivated me to research career opportunities at ABP and it was on this website when I found the advertisement for the Graduate Scheme.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I’m currently completing my first placement within operations and more specifically, ABP Stevedores. This is an area within the business that is responsible for the operational side of importing, exporting and handling cargo.

One benefit of working in operations is that no two days are the same and there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day. This placement has provided me with a great learning foundation for all that is involved within the operational side of ABP, giving me exposure to all that it entails on a variety of different levels. I have been involved with the moving of cargo on and off vessels in a timely and safe manner, receiving and discharging cargo, the planning of resources such as equipment and labour, compound management, the security and management of cargo and regular contact with customers to ensure their various needs are met.

From an operational standpoint, the current Covid-19 pandemic has provided ABP Stevedores with several additional challenges that have had to be overcome and carefully managed in order to allow us to meet our customers’ requirements and keep all ABP staff safe. When possible, I have been working from home, however this has not impeded my experiences and learning opportunities. I have still been able to spend some valuable time ‘on the ground’, learning about and getting involved with key operational tasks that cannot be done from home, such as the discharging of cargo from vessels into one of our various compounds and understanding all aspects of this process.

What’s the most exciting project you are currently working on?

One exciting project that I’m currently working on within my operations placement is the implementation of a new automotive Terminal Operating System. This has the potential to significantly improve and drive forward our automotive operations in Southampton. From day one of being involved with this project I have been really impressed with the amount of exposure and responsibility given to me.

My specific role within the project is to understand and map out all existing operational processes, as well as to discuss, question and explore the ways in which they can be improved in the future. This has given me a great insight into how ABP Southampton import, export and handle cargo. It has also allowed me to play a leading role in implementing operational improvements. This project will allow further operational improvements, as well as benefit our existing and future customers.

If you could give some advice to young people interested in pursuing a similar career path, what would it be?

For young people, it’s currently an incredibly challenging and competitive time to be coming out of university and entering the world of work. My main piece of advice is to remember the importance of perseverance and having a strong can-do attitude. Reflecting on my own experiences, I believe that investing in yourself is also a valuable tool in order to help you stand out in the crowd. This can be done through further study, various work experiences and even travel. If you are looking for an exciting, diverse and varied graduate career, I highly recommend the ABP Graduate Scheme.

Applications for ABP’s Graduate Training Scheme are open until Sunday, 28th March 2021. Find out more and apply here.