1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
1) develop a strong working relationship with the store manager
2) mentor and coach your team to deliver fantastic customer service in store
3) create a great working environment for your team
4) build strong links with the local community, and other nearby Co-op businesses
5) lead the team to increase membership sign ups and engagement
6) be a role model to your team to take pride in preparing, handling and presenting our food
7) create a store environment that is safe and secure, for colleagues and our customers
8) react quickly and positively to changing priorities in store
9) alongside the store manager, look into new ways to increase sales, and improve store performance
10) deputise for the store manager in their absence
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Currently taking part on a Team Manager apprenticeship. The end result will be a qualification level 3 for Retail Management.
New skills I am currently learning are all based around the Team Manager position. I am carrying out a lot of shadowing work with the Store Manager. I am learning new skills around the KPI's, payroll, rota system, managing a team, team work, communication the list goes on! The Co-op allow so many different skills to be picked up in one environment.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the programme as it is made up of so many different interesting areas that allow so much development as a person.
I get to work in a real life working environment where actions create real results good or bad. There is always something to learn from and if things are done right it's doing it right on a larger scale.
The modules of the program allow me to return to the store and implement all skills learnt. My team have recently experienced a range of new leadership from what I learn on my training sessions out of the business.
I enjoy the fact that you have expectations of developing into a retail manager, gaining new communication skills, running a store, controlling a team and experiencing a real retail world! The programme offers so much more that just reading from a text book.
The skills and experiences that are picked up and learnt are things that money can't buy.
I currently enjoy the programme and thanks to the tutors, Co-op staff and the other people going through the programme along with me makes it such a rewarding experience.
4. How valued do you feel by Co-op?
I feel extremely valued from the Co-op and it comes down to the community each store is located in, great area and store managers, and great teams.
Over the past 5 years I have worked in 6 different Co-op stores. Each store has had a very experienced and amazing Store Manager. Always wanting to push you to be you best, always providing the best methods to do things and achieve results. The work you put in is always valued with a thank you. Not only do I feel valued by the Co-op because of the thanks it is the results you see also.
The effort put in is definitely seen through the customers, the community, the team, the store and the management.
The Co-op have a range of rewards and recognition opportunities which can be seen in store and outside of the store. There are events held to highlight those who truly show outstanding performance at a yearly rewards evening.
At my whole time with the Co-op you are able to get involved with tasks and projects on a weekly basis. The retail environment changes so fast. Along with the community changes as well you feel great value from both the Co-op and the customers
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme I feel is very structured. The induction to the programme is approx 4 hours. It is here you get to have understanding of the course and also the chance to ask questions or get some answers!
Within the introduction you get to see when training sessions are booked in for throughout the year, you get to see the support network you have from the tutors, students and Co-op.
There is a system called onefile in which is used in order to see set tasks, and the delegation of work and deadlines. It provides a platform to carry out online training along with the feature to upload work for it to be marked and to communicate with our tutor.
Studying has to be self driven and you have to be highly motivated. The organisation put into the programme is of high standard and so you feel motivated to achieve from the start.
As a student you know where you are at all times and what is required on a weekly basis. This could range from what to study, what assessments need to be completed and any online training.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
There is a wide range of support received from the training provider. On a weekly basis we firstly have access to the tutor by whatsapp messenger, by text message, telephone, e-mail or face to face communication via video conference.
The tutor always ensures everyone is aware of work that needs to be carried out and the expectations. Support can always be seen each day through the offer of guidance or help.
Every 6 weeks we have the opportunity to go into a classroom environment to learn. This is outside of work and the support received here is of high standard. The tutors and Co-op staff work hand in hand to meet, greet, deliver content and help the best they can.
The company also offer a wide range of support in terms of IT issues with the colleage IT department. All in all I would say the support offered by the training provider is exceptional.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The training I receive from the Co-op is of high standard.
The first part of the support I feel comes from Co-op employees specifically working on the apprenticeship programme. They have a passion to see us succeed and aim to get any issues sorted out within the shortest time frame possible. They also have an ear for listening and the power to help with issues in store!
The second part of support I see is from the Area Manager. She has motivation and passion for the all colleagues in the area from customer team members to her store managers. I can have regular updates or conversations with her and she always provides guidance and advice with support.
The final area of support which is gratefully received is from the store manager. My store manager is very understanding and you get 8 hours a week outside of work, paid to carry out study. Rather than have a couple of hours here and there my manager provides me with 1 full day off per week. This works great to balance home life and work life.
The whole company have a great attitude towards supporting me, and there is such a wide range of guidance to issues or problems. There is a wide network and support for guidance and advice.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary comfortably meets my living costs. Like everyone you get paid monthly and are able to work out what needs to go where before you get to work out money left over. As always everyone expects to gain more for the work. The Co-op yearly have wage increases which is always a bonus!
There is a Co-op store in each postcode area so traveling costs are always low.
Social costs and daily costs are just worked into my daily life. All jobs require that extra bit of support as the retail world is forever changing.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
The Co-op have created a large amount of company events outside of work. They normally relate to events that require a physical interaction. The events are either to do good in the community and have a presence, or to raise a bit of money for the charity in question at the time.
There are many occasions where stores from one area all come together in order to socialize. There are the odd occasion in which different areas also come together in order to show that the company is one.
9. Would you recommend Co-op to a friend?
The team work and on the job learning experience is incredible! Fast pace and each day brings a new challenge. The company is at the front of change and to implement the change with the team is amazing! The Co-op allow freedom to push sales and have creativity when working on the shop floor.
There are so many opportunities to work with the community also to ensure we look after the people who look after the store! To give back to customers who give so much to a store in terms of custom and loyalty is a great feeling.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Co-op?
Be yourself always when going to interview! The Co-op want to see the true side of a person and their abilities and skills they can bring to the company. A very fast pace environment along with a lot of team work creates the perfect combination. Ensure you are able to talk about examples of situations and challenges/ events you have been apart of. Keeping the customer in mind at all times examples of how you can always make the customer experience better is key to success.
Stores always develop as a team and not on an individual basis. It is good to show how working with others drives and delivers results.
Have ideas and creativity around selling stock and how as a company it can be pushed to the best community retailer!
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