1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Ecommerce assistant for No7. Daily tasks include: building/fixing pages for the website, setting up products (image, information etc) and communicating with the suppliers. Daily interactions are mainly between myself, my line manager, assistant manager, supply chain, promotions team and the brand. I am responsible for all aspects of No7 online and my own relevant pages on boots.com. I am also responsible for making sure each salesplan runs smoothly and I support my assistant manager in higher level tasks. Long term projects are big new products that have a very high budget against them, and giving them the best exposure online.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In my NVQ and BTEC for business administration I have explored theories for work place learning styles, and deep dived into specific subjects such as finance and the environment. I have been on training courses to help progress my learning and development such as on processes I do in my job, but also more experimental learning like negotiation training. I have done on the job training and shadowing in order to understand the every day processes. I have gained skills in using different programmes such as excel formulas, communication skills when talking to different suppliers and colleagues, finance skills, prioritising, meeting deadlines and negotitation skills. I have had to learn to take responsiblity for very key parts of the website and make sure I am meeting bench mark targets and understand the right people to talk to when I need something.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy work as I have a good group on friends across boots.com now and my team are very helpful and good at their work. The company culture however sometimes expects a lot from employees with little-no recognition such as unpaid overtime. I expected more social culture within Boots. I've made good friends with people in the apprenticeship team and this is great as it means you know people across the whole business.
4. How valued do you feel by Boots?
As an apprentice when we are pointed out to take part in specific events I feel very appreciated, however the norm is to work more than your job description which everyone does so therefore doing extra is normal. Within the apprenticeship its great when the team notice who is volunteering most.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Within the first year it is very well structured in terms of moving from store to head office and meeting fairly regularly with the apprenticeship team to do away days or development sessions. However the move from 1st to 2nd placement is completely different for every apprentice, some of which don't move at all. There is noticeably less events for 2nd years to be involved in and it can often feel like you're just a normal employee.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Yes our training tutor is available for catch up sessions at a set time every week and will put in time with us if we shout up about issues.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Support within the teams/line managers has varied greatly for me personally with some showing complete passion and support and others who don't have the same understanding. The more support the better.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Against some other apprenticeships the pay is fantastic, especially considering the chance to gain bonus or a personal pay raise. However in regards to how much extra work is often expected as a norm across the whole of the company it doesn't feel enough to do as much unpaid overtime, where often time cannot be taken back. For someone who lives out of home in my own accomodation it is good enough to do so at the age of 19, however I could not similtaneously afford a car, so as appentices we have to choose.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
During our first year we were involved with CSR which gave us the chance to go outside of work to show we worked for Boots and do charity events. The apprenticeship often allows for volunteering opportunites which is great. However work wise this was rather disappointing.
9. Would you recommend Boots to a friend?
You are in a real life role, the brands and names you work with will do wonders for your CV. Granted you are expected to do extra often but you learn fast here and the people are great at on the job training. There is huge opportunity to move around the business and discover exactly what you are good at. There are lots of devleopment and learning classes to help you improve on almost anything you want to get better in. Lots of opportunities to speak to people outside of the business and network due to all our suppliers.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Boots?
Really show yourself for who you are and stand out. In the application process be creative with your answers, don't just mention school examples but what you did outside of your job and school i.e hobbies or travels. The assessment day is a really good chance to differ yourself from the others. In the presentation find a creative way that shows you well to explain yourself e.g. I am a creative person so presented on a huge moodboard as this is how I learn best, but stood out well against people using cards or laptops. Don't be afraid to speak up and take action, during any negotation or group task don't wait to be spoken to, start the conversation ask people questions, get everyone involved.
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