Funeral Arranger at Co-op

Start Date:
North West
Programme Type:
£10,000 annually
Review Date:
June 2017

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Review Score

7.7 /10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


Funeral Arranger. Welcoming clients/families into the funeral homes. Talking through their options when arranging a funeral. Completing all relevant legal paperwork. Processing the funeral through the organisation computer system. Maintaining good customer service and contact with the client throughout the process. Offer the client all products & services available to give them the best choice for their loved one. Dealing with third parties such as Councils, Doctors, Crematoria/Cemetery staff. Various religious Leaders, Coroners. Looking after the deceased when they rest in chapel ensuring loved one wishes are met and exceeded. Be the families support and contact for the Co-op.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


In house training courses held for all funeral procedures, legal aspects, family support. You develop your own life skills such as listening and showing sympathy, empathy when dealing face to face with difficult and sad situations regarding somebody passing. Learning to observe and understand people's different actions and moods when arranging a funeral and adapting to each individual situation which is different. Giving families the best possible customer service, which means keeping up to date with new pricing, legal procedures, company products and services.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


The programme is aimed to help you do and understand your role better. It is enjoyable as you are constantly learning and improving on day to day tasks. It makes you more aware when you are completing tasks and helps you remember certain points which may be overlooked but have been highlighted or discussed on your programme. Some aspects of the course seem to be common sense and things are sometime duplicated in different modules.

4. How valued do you feel by Co-op?


Sometimes it is difficult as you are in branches and do not have much sight contact with your manager. (Although you can always contact them on the telephone). So the day to day work and good feedback you receive from clients & families doesn't always get back to the manager. (Only bad news or complaints do!). Town hall events are held to keep us informed when something new is happening which we attend, and we are sent on training sessions if anything new is brought in. A lot of information is received via news bulletins and the weekly bulletin from head office but sometimes you are over loaded with intranet information but nobody speaks to you directly. My personal opinion is that direct face to face contact and communication is required from management to branch staff.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


Not a lot was explained by the Co-op initially. Induction was fine but there was a length of time before the actual programme started. Then throughout the programme the trainer seemed to have to change and swap how things were done or new things were introduced which takes up more of their time. Trainers left throughout my programme which meant my actual trainer was stretched and my visits then became stretched out over a longer period of time. The trainer has always been available if I needed help. There has been no communication from any of my management regarding progress and development regarding the course.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


Training provider has always been available via email or telephone if I have encountered any problems, and has been a great help with any problems which I can discuss on our visits. The attitude of the trainer is very supportive, however in my opinion seems to be over stretched with the amount of paperwork/visits they have to fit in.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


On a day to day basis with general duties there is always someone I can contact if I need help or guidance, and have never had a problem with gaining support. With regard to the training programme, Management has never mentioned or enquired about my development or progress whilst on the NVQ. Co-op have a good general attitude towards supporting employees and branch colleagues help each other all of the time.

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


Location of my current branch is ideal to where I live so fortunately I do not encounter excessive travelling costs. This helps whilst only working part time hours. Working part time is something I have chosen to suit my lifestyle, so I have adapted this and have no problems. However, daily costs regarding travel can become excessive though if we are asked to cover branches further away from the local area, and travel costs have to be met by ourselves. (In most cases management do try to get local staff to cover their local area so this can be kept to a minimum). I think for the nature of the job role we have though, the hourly rate should be increased. Funeral Arrangers are the first people to meet the families and all arrangements are made by them. If this information is incorrect it would then filter through to the rest of the team and things would be wrong throughout the whole funeral. Sometimes think Funeral Arrangers are under valued.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


Company events are highlighted through the website but are not always local to our area. I am not aware of any company activities held. Branches are supporting and run local community activities to help various local courses. There are lots of voluntary and local charities including churches which help out the community as well. There are local leisure clubs which we can attend and get discount due to our benefit scheme and the company are involved in eg. the cycle to work scheme. All of the branches in the Liverpool area are at various locations and there is always something happening in the town which can be attended, eg. cultural festivals, music concerts, sporting events, and we have good historical and cultural sites.

9. Would you recommend Co-op to a friend?


9b. Why?

The actual industry and job I do is well worth while and very satisfying. It is also a very difficult job and some people may not be adapted to certain areas of the job, ie. handling/looking after the deceased. But the rewards of the job and working with like minded people is enjoyable. Overall the Co-op values and beliefs are very good and they always strive to be very fair. They are always trying to stay one step ahead of the competitor and try to use the most up do date technology and ways of working. Communication of products & services is very good although sometimes can be a little over-loaded. One of the Co-op policies is to be yourself and this is important in our job role as we are normal people supporting and helping normal people, so individuality, personalities can come to the forefront. We can offer the true human element.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Co-op?

The application process for the Co-op funeral care, can be quite lengthy. Completing several on line tests before even getting to the interview stage. Sometimes I think the personal element can be lost and some good candidates may not get through to meeting somebody face to face. But when they do, they need to show a passion and dedication for this industry as it is not for the faint hearted. I think it is a good idea to hold more open days so people can come in and see the different jobs available and find out about the industry as there seem to be some dark, old fashioned myths and views regarding this industry from years gone by. Jobs are advertised internally on the intranet for people who want to develop their career, but I think more should come from mentors/management who should monitor employees and if they think they would be suitable or have the relevant experience, speak to and put people employees forward for jobs. I don't think enough of this is done at appraisals, (where appraisals have been held). This is an area which I personally feel can be improved.

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