1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
On a day to day basis I work on the shop floor as a Sales Associate. My apprenticeship lasts 18 months and I spend 6 months in 3 different departments. The knowledge and experience I gain from being on the shop floor is invaluable and will help me in all future roles. However, as I am on an apprenticeship, I get more training and exposure to different aspects of Harrods as a business than other Sales Associates. My managers are additionally aware that I am on this programme and therefore fully support my development with extra responsibilities.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt countless new skills as I had never worked in retail prior to this apprenticeship. My training has given me these new skills as well as the experience of simply working on the shop floor daily. By pushing myself to take on new responsibilities and work on my abilities as a Sales Person I have additionally really developed my communication skills and confidence levels which will no doubt aid me in the future.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Harrods is such a fabulous place to work that I thoroughly enjoy being here. Additionally breaking up my day on the shop floor with training, report writing, meetings or giving briefs makes my day vastly more interesting and stretches my capabilities. However, there is many an occasion when you work a full shift on the shop floor and it can become very tiring or slightly boring if there is little to do and few customers. Despite this, I found that by being on an apprenticeship I have extra motivation as I can see my time on the shop floor as a development process.
4. How valued do you feel by Harrods?
I feel extremely valued by Harrods. I have fantastic mentors in Learning and Development who I feel are completely invested in my success and happiness here in Harrods. Additionally, my managers have been fantastic, providing me with any opportunities/experience I would like in order to further develop myself as an individual and Harrods employee. Lastly, I feel valued by Harrods as an employee on the whole. We have a fantastic staff area which real effort has been invested into as well as great benefits of working for Harrods.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
We receive all of our training times in advance so we know exactly how our placements are going to be structured. Our Learning and Development mentor communicates with us explicitly, so that we know what is occurring and when. Our mentor additionally requests that we have regular catch ups with her so that she is fully aware of how we are developing and finding our training as well. Occasionally we have periods
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My training provider makes me feel comfortable enough to be able to contact her at any point if I ever have any questions or queries. We are also encouraged to schedule regular catch-ups with her so that she can ensure that we are getting on okay within our placement. At the end of our placement I know that Learning and Development organise opportunities for us to shadow roles that we may wish to enter into and provide us with support on acquiring or next job role. I truly feel that she is invested as much as I am in my development within Harrods and would do anything to try and support that journey.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a bountiful amount of support from my managers who are always wishing to hear about my training so that I can ensure what I learn is effectively employed on the shop floor as well as providing me with countless opportunities to develop my knowledge of Harrods and its processes as well as opportunities to develop myself as an individual and employee.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am aware that my salary is good for an apprentice's wage, however being on a probationary wage for my first placement whilst having had needed to move to London has been a challenge. On the other hand, I have gained great skills in money management.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Working shifts means that it is difficult to start anything outside of work on a regular basis as our time off and finishing hours change on a daily basis. However, Harrods themselves do provide opportunities for employees to get involved in charity projects, fitness classes or attend organised seminars/presentations.
9. Would you recommend Harrods to a friend?
I believe that gaining the experience that I am receiving at such a young age will stand me in fantastic stead for my future. Additionally, being on an apprenticeship provides me with excellent networking opportunities as well as first hand knowledge of what working within a business is actually like and what sort of skills/knowledge/mentality you need to succeed. Lastly, by being thrown into the deep end by entering the work place directly out of school has forced me to strengthen my character, resilience, adaptation skills and confidence which will only benefit my ability to take on new challenges in the future.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Harrods?
You need to be certain if this is what you definitely want to do as it requires a lot of effort and hard work. Some people are better suited to taking a gap year from school, going straight to university or embarking upon an apprenticeship and each is an equally valuable experience and provide you with different benefits. If you do decide that an apprenticeship is for you, then ensure you put all of your effort into achieving this goal. Ensure your application is as best as you can make it and if you do succeed in obtaining the apprenticeship then continue to work hard and seize every opportunity in order to get everything that you can out of the experience.
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