Woodland Group are a global freight forwarding and supply chain specialist, with their UK headquarters in Chelmsford, Essex. They are a company who believe strongly in apprenticeships and the value they can bring to the organisation.

And as a sign of that investment, they have supported people at very different stages of their lives and careers to start an apprenticeship. Two of their employees offered their experience of the apprenticeship programme and its numerous benefits.

Richard Lissimore-Hird, Training Manager at Woodland Group, said the following: “As an employer who believes strongly in staff progression, development and promoting from within, Apprenticeships give Woodland Group an incredible platform to not only support, but also showcase new and rising talent within our company and the wider industry. We are constantly searching for the next generation of Logistics superstars!”

Firstly, Wei Jia’s apprenticeship story is a fascinating one. Wei is 41, a mum of two teenage children and moved to the UK from China nearly twenty years ago. She initially had her own business which involved shipping goods from China to the UK to then sell on Amazon. The company she used for the shipping was Woodland. Years later, when Wei was browsing apprenticeships online, she recognised Woodland’s name and applied.

Wei explained: “I saw an apprenticeship as the best chance to rebuild my career. Logistics and International Trading was my subject at University so I wanted to get back into the industry. Also, I stopped my own business as I wanted to go and out and meet people and improve my English.”

Since completing her apprenticeship in September last year, Wei has been working in Woodland’s Asia Operations department. On her experience of the apprenticeship, with completing it alongside looking after her children, Wei said: “It was difficult at times; I struggled with balancing it with my family and job. I would make dinner and put the children to bed and then I would sit down at my desk at ten p.m. to write my assignments! However, it was only for one year and the long-term benefits were worth it.”

Wei said that she would definitely recommend someone in a similar situation to her considering an apprenticeship as a rewarding route back into the workplace: “It will be hard of course, but as they say… no pain, no gain! You sacrifice your time for one year, but after that you’ll have an incredibly bright future.”

To find out more about Wei’s apprenticeship, click here.


A year ago, Joe Freestone completed an apprenticeship with Seetec Outsource in International Freight Forwarding and subsequently started a role as a Customs Clerk with Woodland. Joe received coverage of his achievement but wasn’t content to stop there and decided to enrol on another apprenticeship.

He explained the reasons for this and what has changed for him since his last interview: “After my first apprenticeship, I decided that wasn’t enough for me and my ambitions and felt that I wanted to further upskill myself. One of the great things about Woodland Group is that our CEO is very passionate about training and I was instructed to speak to our in-house training provider.”

The course that Joe chose was Level 3 Team Leadership and Management, which he started in June of 2022. On what the second course has offered him, Joe mentioned: “It’s given me a different perspective on management, which has helped me, especially because I am currently mentoring five people who are going through the same freight forwarding apprenticeship that I did. It has also given me experience for what is hopefully a future pathway into management.”

Furthermore, Joe’s story is made even more impressive as he has struggled with severe dyslexia and ADHD throughout his life, so tasks like reading and writing can be more of a challenge for him. However, this had never stopped him from pursuing opportunities to learn and improve: “I can happily say that both Seetec and Woodland have been fantastic with supporting me throughout. One of the reasons I chose to do an apprenticeship over university is because with it being more coursework-based, my work ethic means that I can level the playing field! It’s not everyday that someone with severe dyslexia not only completes one apprenticeship but feels confident enough to start another.”

Finally, Joe explained how his two apprenticeships have served different purposes at different stages of his career: “My first apprenticeship was a good stepping-stone into the workplace, but this time I’m actively choosing to upskill myself. I’m trying to make myself more qualified and more knowledgeable.”

To find out more about Joe’s latest apprenticeship, click here.