1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a store manager of food retail outlet, my day-to-day job is task focused of merchandising but I have responsibility for the entire operation from Recruitment, Interviews, Performance reviews, disciplinary investigations, managing profit and loss, delivering budgets and so on. The store manager role is diverse this can present a challenge when trying to draw from experience to future roles.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The primary reason I joined the apprenticeship program was to help me progress in my organisation but more then just provide me the skills I needed help with a career path. The biggest learning I’ve taken is an understanding that organisations are ran by people not by policy and there’s a need to reach out and collaborate with others to achieve the goals you have.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have really enjoyed many elements of the program. The university are very supportive and the head of the program is particularly helpful. The residential learnings have been an experience and given me the opportunity to meet different people. I have used the apprenticeship to visit our head office on multiple occasions and understand more about the business I work within.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The actual program, by Anglia Ruskin is structured very well. Though there have been a couple of staffing / lecturer issues that I’m sure happen in any long term program let alone one that is new. The Co-op Support side is a little less well organised and the length of the program has lead to support dwindle in the BAU environment
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As I started to mention above, the apprenticeship team are very supportive and friendly and really demonstrate a desire to see you succeed and break through traditional barriers. The BAU operational environment is different, the degree apprenticeship is new and they’re not sure what to make of it, some are scared of it- placing it on a pedestal, others jealous of the time off and attention and some disinterested as many people have degrees. The score I give is centred on the BAU support. Not the Apprentice team
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
Hard one to describe in more detail, the university provide the inputs and then much of the work is remote. The longer the program has ran the more remote the work becomes. We have tutors we can contact and module leads for each piece of work. I have found generally everyone has been receptive when I’ve asked for guidance (which is most assignments)
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
Performing better in my existing role I’d have to say it’s impact is limited but this is because I went in well informed. As I mentioned I was seeking progression not upskilling within the role. So I may not have improved commercial understanding or how to monitor profit and loss as I had learned this from 13+ years of retail experience. It shouldn’t be underestimated however the impact of the personal development reports where we reflect on ourselves, what motivates us and others and why, how we communicate and how we are perceived. Even going in pretty competent there have been major areas of personal growth.
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.)
There have been some events that we are invited to. I have attended all that are relevant and practical and have created opportunities for myself to network and there have been many visitors to our lectures from the business which could be considered events. These are senior leaders we would not usually get access to
9a. Would you recommend Co-op to a friend?
Co-op is a growing organisation with some legacy challenges but is truly working to become an innovator and lead the way. Programs such as these need to be there to help break down traditional hierarchy barriers and the more people who join with fresh views and ideas- whom work their way up the ladder will create an ever better place to work
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Co-op?
Be yourself. There’s no point getting a job, even if you could, that’s not natural to your style. Think first about what you enjoy doing and why then start deciding if the co-op is right for you and if so what position might be. We all want to bring our best selves to work
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