1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role involves looking after the day to day operations of a food store and managing a team of colleagues including a team manager, team leaders and a number of customer team members. The day to day operation stretches from serving customers to filling shelves, stock management & ordering systems, creating a store schedule, and leading & developing my team.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Yes, I have gained a great deal of leadership development & looked at the ways in which I support my team. I have become extremely self aware and consistently ask for feedback from my colleagues as to how I can improve & then change my behaviour accordingly. I have gained a much greater understanding of the way the business works at all levels.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Although the programme is challenging in terms of time management due to it being not only a degree but an apprenticeship too, alongside a demanding role as a store manager, I have loved learning. It has pushed me to be a better manager & leader and given me skills I couldn’t have learnt just on the job. I have also gained a brilliant support network.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Being part of the first cohort it felt very disorganised at first, however as time has gone on the kinks have been ironed out, the business and university have listened to our feedback and hopefully we have helped to mitigate any of these messy parts for later cohorts. It’s a learning curve for everyone when you are part of a trial group.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
In the beginning when the programme was brand new there was a distinct lack of support. The programme has now spread its wings, awareness has been raised and the business have started to give us some really good support. Line manager buy in is crucial to this support and it is up to you to help them understand your concerns and challenges.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The university cannot be faulted for the support they provide. Nothing is too much trouble for them, there is always someone you can speak to and their communications are clear, concise and extremely helpful. From personal issues to anything to do with the work set they have been amazing from day one.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
Extremely well. During level 4 when the assignments are quite prescriptive it can feel like you aren’t gaining anything that will help you within the role but looking back this wider knowledge really sets the scene and stretches your knowledge beyond the day job giving you an insight into why we do what we do. As level 5 and 6 come around and there is more freedom within the assignments the world truly is your oyster to allow you to develop and grow within your role
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 are several networks within the business and an apprenticeship network is in the process of being set up led by a group of apprentices. Outside of this there are local events set up by local colleagues to allow a bit of downtime and socialising beyond the stores four walls
9a. Would you recommend Co-op to a friend?
I have worked for the Coop for a number of years and have seen them go through a real tough time. Coming out of it the other side with a brilliant leadership team in place and seeing the business grow only underlined what I’ve always thought, it’s a truly great place to work.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Co-op?
Do a bit of research on the business, look at its core values and beliefs as they underpin everything the business does, if they match up to what you believe in and you want to be a part of something amazing then go for it! The world is your oyster and there are so many amazing opportunities for you within this business
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