1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Working in supply chain to try and be as efficient as possible. Doing daily general tasks that require a lot of thought and specific systems to make sure that everything is completed to a high standard. As an apprentice you get given a lot of responsibility which is great at such a young age.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Skills: - Speaking in front of large groups of people - putting myself out of my comfort zone - developed skills in excel and word - new systems learnt - Projects that involve different areas of the business Skills developed have been over a year of working within different parts of Boots. New skills have been good but difficult to get your head round quick enough.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
There needs to be a differentiation between the programme of being an apprentice and my day job that is not apprentice driven. For my day job I absolutely love it and it was definitely the right decision for me to be able to work in a big business and gain skills and a network. In terms of the actual programme, no. I have enjoyed meeting new people on the apprentice programme however the actual programme is quite poor. I have lost the meaning of being an apprentice at work. You get to meet people high up in the first few weeks which is amazing however after that it fizzles out.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Right from the beginning it wasn't very organised. Some teams did not even know that they had an apprentice joining them until the day of them turning up. There were things that were missing for example, we weren't meant to ask any questions about pay, even though we are new to a big company and we don't understand the epaylisps systems etc. We kept a log of everything we did whilst in store and for some they didn't have a very good time, however nothing was spoken about it, it was just left. The structure is something they shout out but is non existent. There is an apprentice programme in terms of you go to college once a week, you then do college work outside of work time and then meet up every 3 months to go over development opportunities. It has to be said that if you want to go far you have to drive it yourself! Most of the apprentices will agree with that. We had big issues with college however they still haven't sorted it. And it won't be sorted, due to the actual apprenticeship that I am on not existing anymore. We all term it the forgotten generation.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
From my employer it depends on your line manager. If you have a very supportive line manager then yes absolutely! There is support like no other if you have a good line manager. For other areas no, this is where the basics are overlooked. For example, epayslips. Boots forget that we are new, we don't really know what the etiquette is at work etc. In terms of actual support I know that if I had a problem I wouldn't raise it because no one would care in terms of my employer.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Poor, Just Poor! We started with one college lecturer and we were told off every week for little things that were out of our control for example, we had a work meeting and was going to be late for college, that wasn't allowed. Its so so confusing. I send email and don't get a reply until at least a week later, the longest one I had was a month. Our training provider came in for one session to make us sign sheets etc. we have never seen these people again. We didn't know what we were signing just that we had to sign it. Its very much get your stuff done, keep track of what you have to do etc. We aren't taught, we have a discussion and then feedback and that's it. For example, we did a professional discussion over the phone where I was told the questions and then the exact site that I can find the answers and if that I just speak whats's on the website that will be fine!
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
Yes I think it does, I can take learning from my qualification straight back into my job role for example how to do presentations. the skills such as keeping track of my own work etc is something I have learnt but shouldn't have to. The new programme is definitely a lot better as its a degree.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Yes- there are things that I can get involved in with suppliers and work. As an apprenticeship group we don't do a lot together. However we do stuff as teams which is sometimes better. Networking events are good where we can meet people higher than us and understand more things to get us up to the top.
9a. Would you recommend Boots to a friend?
Once they have hit their numbers and everyone has got their job role they aren't bothered about anything else. I have never been in such an establishment that is so hypocritical for example you can't park outside the college building you have to park somewhere else, however our apprentice lead and lecturer are allowed to park there... There are a lot of small things that mount up to a lot. We were told at the start of our programme that the qualification that we were doing was part of a foundation degree and that it would count towards a full degree. One of the biggest reasons that I applied was this. 7 months down the line, it doesn't count and you can't leave to apply for that programme you must finish yours first. This is how silly it is.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Boots?
Know your stuff, ask people that work at Boots what it is really about. Check what the course is Check on the day any questions you have. Make sure you apply for the right course for you. Look at alternatives, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Do your research
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