1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a buying assistant in Trading for the seasonal team. I work on the Summer shop category and look after area's like travel accessories, sunglasses, hosiery, jewellery and summer living.
It's difficult to explain my day to day role because no day is the same and that's one reason I love the job I do. My role includes meeting with suppliers to discuss our range and product. Selecting new products and brands to bring into Boots, setting up promotions on our products to go live in store, reviewing competitors ranges and negotiating cost prices etc.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Since starting my apprenticeship I have learn't so much and developed not only professionally, but also personally. I have gained immense amounts of confidence since joining the business. Coming straight from sixth form into a business environment can be very daunting but it has pushed to me to excel my knowledge and experience. I have strengthened area's of weakness such as public speaking and presenting, managing to turn these fears into something that I get great satisfaction from doing.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy the programme i'm on. It has helped me build my confidence and grow my business knowledge. It has also bought great people into my life who I now consider some of my greatest friends. It has helped me understand the world of work in a new way. No longer do I perceive work as just a means to an end but as something I can actually enjoy and excel in.
I have a passion for beauty, so working for Boots allows me to express my passion daily. Boots is a great company to work for as it has a great company culture that encourages development, networking and employee happiness. As such a well respected brand, it is also a company that one can feel proud to contribute to - I enjoy my job because I am making a difference.
4. How valued do you feel by Boots?
Boots as a company really value their employee's and try to create the best working environment possible for them. Boots encourage a relaxed and friendly working atmosphere in which employee's are encouraged to network as much as possible with one another. Boots also offer a lot of benefits for employee's through the benefit box scheme that help contribute to value that they have for employees.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme is extremely well organised and structured as this is something Boots as a company push for. For example, Boots have really thought about the process of apprentices joining the business. First we encountered a really great induction week filled with fun activities that helped us all apprentices to get to know each other. This helped to build a support network amongst the cohort which we all really rely on. We also have assigned apprenticeship leaders who have lots of experience in the business and are always happy to help. Amongst our individual day to day working teams, support and structure is again a priority. Line managers are visible and engage in 1-1's on a monthly basis with colleagues to analyse progress and further development.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My training provider is extremely supportive and is always happy to help when needed. She makes sure that she also puts in time with my line manager to feedback to her how i'm doing and also discuss anything she thinks that would help me to improve. She is always only an email away and is good at responding when assistance is needed. I feel i can talk to her about anything and as well as a training provider, she is also a friend.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My line manager is extremely supportive and will always take time out of her busy schedule to help me no matter how small or big the issue. She is a great role model to me and really invests her energy into my development. I feel i can speak to her openly about any issue and she will always dedicate herself to helping me resolve it or feel my best. She also provides me with development area's and helps me to put plans in place to build on them.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
For an apprenticeship and considering the amount of training I have access to, my salary is really great. I can manage to save a big sum of money every month but still have the disposable income to enjoy my time outside of work and cover all my costs. The apprenticeship pays really well and I can not complain considering the qualifications I get out of it. There's also lots of opportunity for pay rise, bonus' and promotion in Boots. As I am expected to roll off the scheme onto a level 6 role ( I am currently a level 7).
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes, most weeks I am out of the office visiting events and suppliers. I have also been on overnight trips away to London to volunteer at a event in Wembley arena. I have also been to Bournemouth for an overnight trip with suppliers. I have the opportunity to do store visits and see how our products look in store and big shopping centre's around the UK. I have also been invited to big sunglasses events in Paris and Milan that showcase the latest trends and styles.
9. Would you recommend Boots to a friend?
Boots is a great place to work and is a great place for those looking to develop or gain brilliant experience in a reputable and valued brand. It is great for people who want to understand more about the world of retail and has the resources to capture the talents of a wide range of people. If you are creative there's roles to channel that talent such as marketing or trading. Due to the mass size of the business there's lots of room for growth but also transition. People at Boots often move around departments a lot and this allows for employee's to really expand their knowledge and experience.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Boots?
The application process is really difficult but the way to get the job is to really really prepare. If you really research Boots and put a lot of time, thought and energy into your preparation then nothing can go wrong. It's important to really understand Boots and their mission statement but also put a lot of thought into'whats next for Boots' - how can Boots grow and further develop in the market?
In the assessment day really think about the way you come across through your behaviour and the way you interact. Boots look for behavioural types - they don't want the person that can scream the loudest. They want the person who can push their views but maintain great relationships and working well with a team at the same time.
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