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Sophia Large, CF APMP, has been in the bid and proposal profession for only four years, but she is already making her way around the industry. Before achieving her Foundation certification this year, she received a Distinction while participating in the APMP U.K. Bid and Proposal Coordinator Apprenticeship and was the youngest recipient among the 2021 class of APMP 40 Under 40 honorees. Large is part of a global submissions team, working as a bid coordinator for a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy with offices in the U.K., Europe, MENA, Asia and Australia.
How’d you get your start in this profession?
I started my career right out of school with an apprenticeship at a highways contractor, without ever having been exposed to the fast-paced world of bids, proposals and tenders. Thrown in at the deep end, I enrolled as part of the original cohort studying for the first APMP U.K. Bid and Proposal Coordinator Apprenticeship standard, which exposed me to industry techniques, knowledgeable tutors and new ways of working. Through the APMP process, I have met other likeminded young professionals, been tutored by some of the most experienced professionals in the industry, and became one of the first students in the world to graduate from this APMP apprenticeship standard with a Distinction.
Why did you decide to pursue your Foundation certification?
One of my ambitions upon completing my apprenticeship was to continue pursuing APMP qualifications. I found that the extensive amount of content covered in my apprenticeship course (from the context of bidding, to proposal development and knowledge management) really set me up for success in the Foundation certification. I wanted to put all the information I had learned in my apprenticeship to good use by studying for an internationally and industry-recognized qualification that could benefit myself and my organization in the future.
What advice do you have for other new professionals who might be interested in pursuing bids and proposals as a career?
Since I never went to university, I am extremely passionate about demonstrating to other young professionals that a degree is not the be-all, end-all and will not bar progression in any forward-thinking organization willing to invest in training their staff. I think a lot of the time, young adults are pushed to attend university and often end up in a lot of debt without necessarily being any further in knowing what they want to do as a career. New professionals to the industry should learn to be a “sponge” and soak up as much information and knowledge from other more experienced bid professionals around you — but don’t forget to educate them on new APMP ways of working at the same time!
How has APMP helped you on your career path thus far?
APMP has enabled me to bring fresh knowledge to my organization and has assisted in creating an updated bid/no-bid decision template that is now in use through the opportunity assessment stages. Throughout, I have been an advocate for APMP and have introduced best practice to my organization and to colleagues previously unaware of the association. From a studying perspective, the APMP Body of Knowledge was a godsend while revising for my apprenticeship exams, as it contained so much useful information in really easy-to-remember formats.
Why are you #ProudToBeAPMP?
Even though I have only been in the bid and proposal industry for a relatively short amount of time, I feel I have got as much out of APMP as I have put in — if not more. Winning an APMP 40 Under 40 Award earlier this year was a huge achievement for me and one that I wasn’t really expecting to come so early in my career. Working as part of a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy is fantastic and exposes me to information I would have never learned anywhere else, but there is something special about having so many likeminded individuals learning and working together as part of APMP.