1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My daily tasks include checking the tills three times a day to make sure they're correct. As well as this I make any cash adjustments if I need to pay bills or get supplies for the depot such as coffee, milk or stationary. Some other responsibilities I have include doing the paperwork every morning from the previous day and making sure all the invoices are there and have been signed. Once it has been checked I then file this paperwork in the correct place so it's easy to find if we need to find the paperwork again. However, biggest responsibility I have in the depot is getting the stock in for orders that have been placed. This can be stressful if we have a lot of kitchens going out but most of the time other depots are happy to help us out so that makes my job a lot easier.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
During my apprenticeship I have learned a lot of new skills. Some of which include, filing paperwork, using the computer systems and how to be organized. Some of the most important skills I can take from this apprenticeship is how to work under pressure and how to do things efficiently and in the correct way but I also have learned not to be so disheartened if I do make mistakes because most problems can be fixed easily by just taking control of a situation and not getting panicked. Over the past year I have learned about the certain ways you need to talk and act around different types of people such as internal/external customers as well as how to work as a team with your colleagues and management so that we can all thrive as a business.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my work a lot and the reason for this is definitely due to the team I work with. I get on really well with all of my colleagues including both my managers and this is down to the mutual respect we have for each other because although I'm the youngest and just an apprentice they have never made me feel like I'm any less of a team member than them and they have always pushed me to do well. Howden's in general is a really good company to work for and I have no complaints. I definitely exceeded my expectations of what I though I was capable of and how quickly I could learn and do well in my role at the company.
4. How valued do you feel by Howdens Joinery?
Since I started with Howden's I have always been made to feel like a valued member of staff by both my managers and colleagues. They have pushed me a lot which at times was hard but I am better for it today. I have definitely grown as a person and have a much better work ethic and I now have the determination to do well which I did not have as much of before I started. I have learned so much in such a short time and feel like I am doing well. This is also due to customers being patient with me when I was first getting the know the systems and all the different products we sell.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel like there wasn't a lot of structure to the program for the most part of my apprenticeship until I got my new mentor. The work books I was set to complete helped me a lot within my apprenticeship and I feel like the deadlines set were reasonable. I do feel like more tasks should have been set throughout the year however so I could get closer to my qualification.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I feel like the support I should have gotten from my apprenticeship mentor was not what it should have been for the most part of the apprenticeship. I don't feel that I seen my mentor enough or that the lady knew enough to be teaching me what to do and due to this I am not where I should be at in the apprenticeship program. However, this has changed and vastly improved since my mentor changed and I have been getting a lot more support and can hopefully get all my work done in time by the end of my apprenticeship.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have a good relationship with my manager and assistant manager and so I am very open with any issues I have or if I feel l need help with something and they are always happy to listen to me and advise me to the best of their ability. Although we've had differences on opinions about how to do things, managers have always been fair with me even if I didn't think this was the case at the time.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I don't think the salary is nearly enough to get by from day to day at all. After paying all my bills e.g. phone, car, food, petrol and other living costs that come out my wages every month I am left with very little disposable income each month to do anything on my weekends off which has lead to me being in my overdraft nearly every month.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
We've had a few work nights out which have been good as everybody in the depot gets on very well with each other. Outside of work I also like to see my friends and go out for lunch or dinner with them on the weekends. As well as this I like to spend time with my family or go to the gym.
9. Would you recommend Howdens Joinery to a friend?
I would recommend Howdens for a friend who is looking for a job as they're a good company to work for. Also if someone is looking to buy goods I would recommend Howdens as I feel they will receive a good value of service from whatever depot that they go in to and also the products are of good value and worth for their money.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Howdens Joinery?
I think you definitely need have a laid back personality but you also need to be able to take control of situations and work under pressure and know how to deal with certain types of customers. There is definitely a lot to learn which takes more time than learning how to do a lot of other sales jobs. I would like to have been told before I started about the level of work and learning that needs to be done, however I'm grateful that I was given the opportunity to work with Howdens because I really enjoy the job.
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