Nicola Tilston

Nicola Tilston attended Sheffield University and joined the Supply Chain & Logistics graduate programme in 2012. Her current role is Head of Emerging Talent.

Why did you choose the DHL Graduate Programme?

I was working for a small company as part of a project team who were outsourcing their logistics operation to DHL. I really enjoyed the experience, especially the interactions with the DHL team and this led me to becoming interested in working for the organisation. When a member of their team suggested I apply for DHL’s graduate programme it was a no brainer.

What was your favourite experience / memory during the graduate programme?

The outward bound project where we arranged residential trips for underprivileged children. The whole experience was incredibly rewarding and I know it changed a few children’s lives for the better.

What makes the DHL graduate programme unique?

It gives people a good core understanding of our operations, so that every graduate can really get to understand what we actually do. It also allows you to move around the business and experience different areas/functions, which I found invaluable as I didn’t have a clear idea about what I might ultimately want to do after the programme.

What roles have you had with DHL since being on the graduate programme?

I started as a Customer Service Manager for the Avon contract, and then I moved out of DHL Supply Chain (DSC) to become a Senior Account Coordinator for the International Supply Chain department within DHL Global Forwarding (DGF). I then moved back to DHL Supply Chain and had a regional role governing IT projects (PMO Manager) across our European region. My fourth job was as a PMO Manager for a large internal transformation, UK HR Transformation Programme. I then moved to be the Project Manager for the closure of our final salary pension scheme. I then progressed in to a Programme Management role for our UK Finance Transformation Programme. After this, I decided that a complete change of direction might be good thing and moved into a HR role as the Head of Emerging Talent within the Talent Centre of Excellence in the UK

How has being a part of the DHL graduate programme helped you accomplish what you have with your career?

Coming up through the graduate programme helped me realise that ultimately you control your own development. You are given many opportunities in DSC, but it is down to you to work hard, deliver results, prove yourself and then strive to develop.

What advice would you give to future graduates in the DHL programme?

If you have made it on the graduate programme then you have obviously done something right for a start! Now it’s time to take the opportunities and make the most of them. Don’t sit around waiting for other people to look after your development; you are responsible for your future, no one else! If I could go back in time I wish I had realised this sooner.

What type of person do you think is the right fit for DHL?

Someone who is adaptable to change and someone who has high levels of resilience because some operational environments are highly pressured with a lot of responsibility. I would also say that DSC supports people, like myself, who don’t necessarily know exactly what they want to do. So long as you can demonstrate that you hold our core values and are prepared to work hard, the opportunities that working for a global organisation brings, are endless.


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