1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am working as a Project Co-orindator in the IT department. I am working on multiple projects alongside Project Managers and I am also now managing my own projects in preparation for taking the next step in my career. My days are always varied and there is never a dull moment. One day I could be managing a software upgrade whereas another day I could be rolling out hardware which will enable the business to achieve its objectives.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
- Stakeholder management - Business analysis - Project planning - Project management
I am a certified Business Analyst and I am studying towards my PRINCE2 practitioner which are both relevant to my day job. I have passed my apprenticeship qualification which was a Level 4 diploma in Business Administration and Management.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have really enjoyed being part of the apprenticeship programme and it has offered many opportunities to me for the future.
The company is great and there are a lot of people who will be willing to share their knowledge with you...you just need to ask.
4. How valued do you feel by Boots?
I feel extremely valued in my team. I am now being given a lot of responsibility by managing my own projects and being sponsored to study towards my PRINCE2 qualification.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme was structured well with lots of initiatives planned in throughout the programme. This offered the chances to develop areas such as time management and commercial awareness. These sessions were great fun but we also learnt a lot from them.
My cohort of the apprenticeship was the first intake which came into Boots, we trailed lots of initiatives which meant the programme at times didn't seem overly organised. This didn't cause too much of an issue as the programme still offered lots of varied challenges and interventions.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Babington College were great. The tutor in particular was able to make the course as tailored to suit out needs as possible. We were able to either submit coursework or do an exam which was great for people who don't like exams. The tutor was always on hand to give advice on assignments and to advise on general behaviours in the workplace. I don't think this would have been the case if we had a different tutor.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support from the apprenticeship co-ordinators was good. With us being the first year of apprentices, they were keen to make the programme a success so they spent a lot of time offering guidance and support on a 1 to 1 basis and as a group.
My team were really supportive and they were keen for me to develop. They were flexible offering me the time off for my college studies which helped me to focus my time into Thursday afternoons where I would study towards my qualification. I have similar support now with my PRINCE2 training and they are more than accommodating to share their learning’s with me so I have the necessary knowledge to progress my career.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I feel the starting salary was excellent - coming straight out of college into a job with a salary like the one we received was great. I feel the salary progression is not in line with other companies post the apprenticeship. We have built up experience and a qualification whereas graduates enter the business with only the qualification. I feel this is an area for Boots to look into in the future.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Having seen other apprenticeships with other companies and how they are structured, I believe this is an area for Boots to work on. Other companies include team building events through outward bound activities where the delegates get to spend a few days doing outdoor activities to build up their relationships with the other delegates. I think Boots should look to include this in future apprenticeships.
I think Boots overall could do with including more events for people outside of work as all teams tend to do their own things, whereas sports clubs would be a good idea for people who are interested.
9. Would you recommend Boots to a friend?
There are many opportunities which I have been provided with since being on the apprenticeship programme and this is something I don't think I would have received if I were to join the company without being on the programme.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Boots?
1. Make sure you research the company and know all about who their customers are and what their mission is. 2. Don't be nervous as everyone who is at the interviews will be in the same position as you. I know it’s easy to say now, but the interview process really isn’t that bad. 3. Make sure you are willing to put the effort into your studies and day job as it doesn’t go un-noticed.