Having been named as one of the cold chain industry’s most ‘inspirational’ women, Clare Morrell is stepping up her efforts to nurture the next generation of talent at Petit Forestier.

Clare was promoted to the role of Regional Operations Manager in April of this year, capping a remarkable rise from trainee to senior leader at the world’s leading refrigerated specialists.

Her upwards career trajectory has not gone unnoticed outside of the business, as she was recently included on a list of the most Inspirational Women who work in the temperature-controlled and distribution industry at the TCS&D Cold Chain Awards.

A prominent supporter of diversity within the industry, Clare is hoping her recent national recognition serves as inspiration for the latest crop of apprentices she has taken under her wing, many of whom are from diverse backgrounds or with particular learning challenges.

She said: “We treat all our apprentices exactly the same, in that we want them to succeed. Some individuals have found the study side quite difficult, so we offer them additional support. I personally do my best to keep them motivated and will do whatever it takes to get them through their courses. We have one apprentice who has autism, so I speak with his parents all the time to adapt the way that we work with him. It is immensely pleasing to see the progress being made.”

And Clare has advice for females considering a career in the cold chain industry, adding: “Don’t be afraid as a female, have faith in your own skills and knowledge. The industry has changed so much since when I first joined. There are still some old school ways of thinking: even now I will get the odd customer asking to speak to a man rather than me. I just reply and say the men you want to speak to are my employees – they work for me!”

Clare entered the industry, aged 18, after leaving YTS college with an NVQ Level 3 in Business. Within the space of 12 months, she had left behind the junior admin tasks when fast-track promoted to credit controller at a larger, full refrigeration depot in Letchworth. She received her biggest opportunity to date when appointed Assistant Depot Manager in 2010.

Clare attributes a lot of her success to the support given by Petit Forestier who she describes as a ‘staff focused and flexible’ employer who are committed to arranging shifts around family requirements. In recent years, she was put through a CPC management course by her employer which further boosted her confidence.

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