1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I manage a food store in a small town and am responsible for a team of 10 colleagues, i am responsible for ensuring the store meets the business targets and runs smoothly, delegating tasks to the team, ensuring the store is safe and secure and ultimately ensuring that the customers are happy as they are the priority in store!
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learned many skills on the apprenticeship, having stepped up to manager during, it has given me extra skills and knowledge to help. I have developed my communication skills with its help such as giving effective feedback and how to plan and have open an honest conversations. It has given me the skill of how to further celebrate diversity in stores & the benefits of it. The reflective log enables me to look back over my development and events that happened in store and how i learnt from them, what went well/not so well giving me better skills for planning in the future.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the fact it enables me to look at myself in my role and identify development needs to further my career which you are fully supported through. It gave me a better view of my working environment and how we as colleagues interact and how i can influence that in a positive way. I enjoyed the face to face group sessions working with new people, doing interesting and motivating tasks and having other candidates there as a support network going through the modules.
4. How valued do you feel by Co-op?
I feel extremely valued by the co-op. There is strong communication across the entire business making you feel included. Other than this apprenticeship Co-op has supported and helped me through other qualifications such as a Level 2 NVQ and APLH course alongside many other great opportunities making you feel valued and that the business is keen to develop its own. Everyone is treated fairly and equally offering new skills and development to all colleagues. Co-ops values in themselves celebrate teamwork and allow you to be yourself & with the wide network of support available you feel supported and valued.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The start of the programme seemed a little scrambled with not much support on LearnDirects part however that was quickly improved after feedback and now is very well structured with a clear journey mapped out with dates and deadlines. The communication is very good and helps to remind of where we should be working at in terms of modules. The face to face session dates are released in plenty of time to plan around as are review dates. Any queries you may have are answered quickly so it doesn't set you back on deadlines waiting for replies in between face to face sessions.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The first couple of months i received very little by way of face to face reviews /meetings with my coach. We were then given a new coach who is very supportive, kept to dates and times set and was quick to respond to any queries and support where i needed it. The coaches encouragement and motivation was great and is very knowledgeable of the course.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My area manager is supportive and helps where needed with my skills development. They view my work when in store and can see evidence of how the course is also benefitting store with motivating displays and fun tasks done as a team that were set by the apprenticeship. The coop apprentices email service is very supportive with quick and helpful replies so as not to hold up progress. My learning facilitator is also very supportive and is another source of support on the phone if i need immediate help. Sometimes in a small team it can be difficult at busy times to get the 8hours learning time.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I was already employed by Co-op on a salary so don't have costs as everything needed is supplied by the business and training provider. However the expenses of travelling to and from the group to group sessions were quickly and easily reimbursed. If travelling by train the tickets were easily booked in advanced and prepaid by the apprenticeship making it easy to attend the face to face sessions easy and affordable however you travel.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many opportunities outside the work place to develop such as training sessions on a variety of topics. There are certificates and other qualifications on offer by attending outside sessions also. As the business is heavily community focused there is lots of opportunity to get involved with the local causes and volunteer for their events as part of the stores team or alone if you wish.
9. Would you recommend Co-op to a friend?
Co-op is all about developing their colleagues and having progression plans for everybody. There are regular opportunities to give your feedback in TalkBack surveys and in person performance reviews where you can set yourself goals and action plans that Co-op will support you in achieving. There is a wide network of support in all forms such as face to face, phonecalls and emails. Queries are answered quickly and support is given from across the business.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Co-op?
To use the entire support network for help, many different views and opinions can be great for making decisions. The people you work with in store will also be help along the way with team tasks set by the apprenticeship but it's important to remind them they don't have to take part in those is they don't want to or would feel uncomfortable. However use the apprenticeship as a fun experience for bringing the team together to encourage and motivate them while also developing your own skills.
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