1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am responsible for a team of 3 staff members, including their training and development. I fulfil a sales role involving building relationships with customers in order to facilitate sales. I also fulfil a duty manager role within the store including Health and Safety responsibilities, cash handling and daily paperwork.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have completed my TAQA qualification off of my own back while on my apprenticeship. I have been learning and developing my skills in relation to completing the EPA project. Due to a lack of support from my assessor/s I have had to seek it from elsewhere in order to learn how to prepare and format a synopsis and report.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
There has been 2 separate elements to my programme, the first is a series of workshops and activities run and developed by Screwfix. These have been fantastic highlighting necessary skills alongside explaining theories behind them and how they apply to my current and future roles. The second has been the assessor visits run by Lifetime training. I have experienced many issues with this side of the programme, having had 5 separate assessors throughout my apprenticeship I have had no consistency in the support and feedback I have received. I have also struggled with preparing for EPA as my current assessor has continuously refused to provide any support to me in preparing for my project. she has been carrying out practice sessions for my EPA Professional Discussion, however these are being run as me presenting information with no input from my assessor leaving me to struggle to talk about the topics.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
For the first 4 months of my programme I did not receive any briefings or guidance on how to use the online platform to complete any work towards my apprenticeship. This is due to a combination of having multiple different assessors and the assessors I had contact with not providing the necessary support for me to be able to access the work. Coming to the end of the programme now, I have been provided with the Assessment Specification to help me prepare for EPA and having read through this it is structured very differently to the structure of the modules on the online platform.
The programme provider has a separate portal for the uploading of evidence for the programme which I have never been shown to do. On there is the upcoming visits showing an agenda for the next meeting however several times this has not been updated until the day of the visit itself meaning I do not have enough time to properly prepare for the visits.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have received a lot of very helpful support from my employer. My Line Manager has provided ample time for my to attend workshops and assessor visits as well as providing me with opportunities to complete Off the Job Training. Screwfix as a company have provided fantastic resources in the form of one day workshops and activities that help develop knowledge, skills and behaviours that will help my complete my qualification and perform my job role .
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I feel I have received very little support from my training provider. I have many times asked for support in completing activities or understanding work within the modules on the online platform, to be told yes we will go through that when I next see you. This support then does not happen even when I push my assessor/s for it. I have asked my current assessor for support and guidance in preparing my EPA project to be told she is unable to look at anything I do towards this or provide me any support for it at all. We have a journal, covering what has gone well, what I have learnt and so on, we can upload on the programmes portal. I uploaded concerns I had regarding my EPA preparations and the lack of support I was encountering. This was brought up by my assessor in a visit in front of my line manager and a supervisor from another store who had come to our store to be trained by myself. My assessor did this in a way I can only describe as a telling off.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I feel that it has provided my with new knowledge of several theories that have enabled my to review my management style. This has enabled me to incorporate theories such as Belbins team roles and Tannebaum and Schmidt's management styles into my day to day operations and team interactions.
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.)
We have regular team outings from meals to bowling and everything in between. These are organised by both the management team and the staff team. Each year Screwfix provides a budget for the team to go for a Christmas do. This usually takes the form of a meal. There is scope for further activities but they are all organised by the staff.
9a. Would you recommend Screwfix to a friend?
Screwfix as a company are very keen to retain staff and help them develop themselves in to a role that matches them. For a retail organisation the pay is good, and there is flexibility available in your shift patterns. They are very keen to provide incentives and competitions throughout the year to reward store teams as well.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Screwfix?
Be prepared to challenge yourself personally and professionally, and seek out feedback. Be open and honest with everything, talk about how you want to develop yourself and others. Be prepared to face a large variety of challenges on a day to day basis, from dealing with customers to arranging a warehouse.