1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work in the stock accounting team at Boots. My day-to-day role consists of fixing system errors in the accounting tool we use. There are a large number of different things that can cause an error and using my, currently, somewhat limited expertise of the system is challenging. I work on the dispensing side of the stocktakes and this includes collating all data, checking it and making enquiries as to any strange numbers we are provided with and then processing the stocktake result through the accounting tool and publishing results at the end of the month.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I've developed my excel skills which were pretty rusty at the beginning to a level which allows me to deal with the spreadsheets we use daily. The company runs its own Excel courses to help people in the business develop their skills. I've also learnt how to use two new systems that we use on a daily basis, however that doesn't make me an expert in them and I still have a lot to learn. It's also helped me be better at managing my time as you have to balance your work for the company, your work for college and have a social life at the same time.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
My programme is great. The company are extremely welcoming and make me you feel as if you've been there for years from day one. I personally didn't have any worries when I started because that's me, but if I had I'm sure they wouldn't have been around for long. The other apprentices also make the programme great. Although you don't work together directly everyday, you will spend a lot of time with them and develop good relationships.
4. How valued do you feel by Boots?
I feel very valued by Boots. They do everything they can to make your day-to-day working life great. I feel at home in my team after just over a month in the role and everyone I have met during my time has been very accomodating and friendly.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The Apprenticeship programme at Boots is very well structured. The online application is clear and easy to complete. It is also explained to you at this point what will happen if you progress through each stage and what each stage is. When you actually start at the support office the learning and development team are very helpful in ensuring you have everything you need to succeed and should you require any assistance whatsoever all you have to do is ask your line manager, or email the course leader.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The training provider, from Babington Business College, is always around to help if you need it. She has a desk in the support office and works solely with the Apprentices on the Boots Apprenticeship. She can sometimes be flooded with emails, but that is understandable considering there is only one of her and close to 35 apprentices.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive lots of help from my employer. From training courses to do with Excel being offered throughout the year to day-to-day advice and help from people such as my line manager. The finance function itself offers a massive amount of training and introduced me to the fundamentals of accounting in an hour and a half session. This was extremely helpful as I had no previous experience with accounting.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary meets my costs very well. It definitely helps that I am from the local area and did not have to relocate to join the programme. However there are others that have done so and they have made it work on the salary offered for the programme. Ultimately, I think it is a very fair salary for an apprenticeship scheme and definitely betters the prospect of university debt.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are lots of opportunities outside of work. Some of these are run by the company and some are more opportunities you can have by meeting the new people from the company. Boots runs a lot of social events throughout the year in addition to its massive list of charity commitments. For example the finance function is doing a 10k run for anyone in the company and their family and friends are also welcome. The proceeds from this go to Macmillan which is a great cause. The other opportunities come from the friends you make within the company. For instance myself and 4 other apprentices have started a 5-a-side football team at a nearby venue (it's literally next to the Boots site). This is an opportunity I wouldn't have had had I not been on the apprenticeship programme.
9. Would you recommend Boots to a friend?
The whole experience is fantastic and something that I feel is nothing but beneficial to someone starting in the working world. The initial 2 months of store work is tough but character building, you'll find out how much your feet hurt from being on them all day in the first week. But it makes you better understand who you are working for when you get to support office. In addition, it is a very welcoming and relaxing company to be a part of. I have very flexible working hours and your colleagues want you to be the best you can be and help you be that everyday.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Boots?
I would say be confident, but be yourself. They don't have an exact person they are looking for. If they feel you have the potential, they'll go for you. Grab every chance you can and give every task you have to do during the application your all. Everyone who makes it to the assessment day has a chance of getting a place, if you didn't you wouldn't be there.
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