1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job title is No7 Supply Assistant meaning I work within the Supply Chain department for No7. I have a variety of different tasks to carry out on daily basis including updating salesplan monitors, preparing for new product launches, placing manual order for stores and generally supporting the No7 team. Everyday I have to interact with my own supply team and various other departments such as the Branding & Trading teams. Most of my external interactions are with stores across the UK when they need advice on stock holding or need manual orders placing. This apprenticeship role gives you a high level of responsibility from the start, I have only been in the role for a couple of months and I am already managing the tester lines. In terms of projects,I have decided to start looking at the processes of how stores order testers to try and improve the system. There are a few jobs that I need to complete everyday however my jobs do vary on a daily basis. On a Monday there are more reports to look at as I have to summarise these from the previous week and every week there are different meetings to attened.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
So far I have learnt a lot of skills that I didn't realise I would learn within this job role. My role in supply is a computer desk job therefore I have improved my typing efficiency skills and excel skills. In terms of qualifications, I have completed my MHRA Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) training. Within Supply Chain, a number of different computer systems need to be used and understanding how these work is essential. I have attended multiple internal training sessions to learn the basics on these systems. I have booked into further training to extend my knowledge and understanding on these sytems as I progress within my role. I have also been able to develop my communication skills, learning to communicate with all tyes of people from within the business, most of which I have never met before. I have also started my college work and have completed a few units. This work is left for you to do as you only have one college lesson every three weeks therefore you have to learn to manage your time and do indepednat study. Although it is independant study, the college tutor is on site once a week for support and guidance with the work.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am enjoying the fast paced working environment and taking on new things within my role every week. I have meetings with my line manager every week and this gives the opportunity to look at my progression and see how I can develop. I am enjoying becoming more confident wihtin my role and being able to complete my jobs more efficiently so I have more time in the day to look at other tasks. I enjpoy working with my team who are very supportive and all have a range of knowledge and expereince to help with my role. I always feel I can ask all five other members of my team any questions and they will be able to help. I was looking forward to the role when I first started however I was surprised at how quickly you start the role indepentantly. I thought there would be a longer period of time during the handover from the previous years apprentice however they have to start thier new job role so you are thrown in at the deep end form the start. Although this can be quite daunting, the supportive team help to get you started.
4. How valued do you feel by Boots?
I do feel valued by Boots as the Apprenticeship Programme I am on is highly recognised by all people within the business. Also, regular reviews with my line manager and my team manager allows the opportunity for them to give feedback on how I am progressing. On a daily basis, different members of my team and different employees within Boots ask me to do different jobs for them, when these are complete there is a lways a high level of appreciation that you have taken the time out of your role to help with a query/problem. During my time in store I went out to a school to promote the apprenticeship scheme and this was before I started at the Head Office, when I started at the Head Office, my apprenticeship team and No7 Team all recognised I had attended the careers event in my own time in store and this was appreiciated by them.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel this is a very well structured programme and this is mainly because Boots have taken on the feedback from previous apprentices and adapted it. The induction was a good chance to get to know the team and have some familiar faces before the first day in your role. The training and support I recieved was very good as I had my buddy with me for the first week who was also on the apprenticeship scheme and had been in my role for a year. This was very useful because they started in the same position as me a year ago and they could give you a good understanding of how the role will be having had no previous experience of supply. Within the team, it is clearly explained what everybody's role is and who manages who. This is useful for your role as you know who to go for with different problems. The programme is well structured, I know that I will be moving to a different department in a year and I know when I need to complete my college work. Although this is a set schedule, extra work activities are left to you to take on and this means you can get out of the programme as much as you want to.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We have college lessons once a month however the college tutor is on site once a week to go to if you have any questions. During the induction/training for the role, the structure of how the qualification is made up is clearly explained. I was encoureaged to get as many of the units done as possible whilst I am stilll new in my job role as once this is done I can focus on progressing within my role. There are a lot of units to do and I feel it would be more useful to have the tutor in more than once a week as it is hard to find the time to go to your tutor if you are busy that day. There is however always the opportunity to email my tutor however it takes longer to get a response than asking the questions directly.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I get a lot of support from my team, both my line manager and team manager always arrange frequent meetings to look at how I am getting on and to support me in any way they can. The HR team like to keep in touch and see how you are getting on and it is good to have them to contact with any extra work activities that you want to get involved in such as career fairs/events.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary offered on the apprenticeship satisifys my costs. I still live at home therefore I only have to use money form my salary to pay board. I do have to travel a 45 minute journey every week so the majority of my salary goes on petrol every week. I usually bring my own lunch to work however the food at the Head Office in the canteen/shops is not expensive so I sometimes buy my lunch. The biggest cost is running my car however the salary easily covers this and I have left over for social costs.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are endless opportunites to get involved with outside work! There are always events going on when recruiting and getting the apprenticeship out there. I am always encouraged to go out to stores to see how they are coping and if there is any feedback I can take back to head office. Team lunches and team days are good opportunties to get away from the desk and get to know your team and other teams and these happen a few times a month. There are also clubs and activites to do within Boots, there are sports teams to join and a gym on site.
9. Would you recommend Boots to a friend?
I would recommend this apprenticeship programme to my friends because it is a great starting to point to your career. You get the opportunity to join a face-paced business that is alwyas growing. The programme allows you to meet new people everyday and learn so much about the work behind the success of Boots. The most attractive attriubute of working at Boots for me is the opportunities to develop and move around. Most employees at Boots have stayed with the company for years and within that time they have experienced working in at least more than one other department. This means I will not be tied down to the same role all of the time and there are always opportunties to start in new roles.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Boots?
When applying for the apprenticeship I would ensure that you write down as many examples that show you are good at working with other people. All roles within Boots require working with others, many of which you have not met before and these people skills are essential. In the interview, I advise going in with as much enthusiasm as possible and show how passionate you are about getting the role. This is so important as the apprenticeship programme is very competitive! Doing research in to the programme you want to start and learning about Boots as a company is something that looks really good in the interview/assessment day and is something I would have liked to have known was something that impressed the people recruiting on the day.
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