Bethan Courtney-Jones at John Lewis Partnership

Programmes Offered: Apprenticeship - Intermediate Level (Level 2) Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3) Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5/6/7) Degree Apprenticeship / Sponsored Degree (Level 6/7)
Industry: FMCG & Retail Digital Media & IT

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Bethan Courtney-Jones

Bethan Courtney-Jones

Retail Apprenticeship

What apprenticeship scheme are you on?

I have just completed my John Lewis Level 2 intermediate Retail Apprenticeship

Why did you apply to the John Lewis Partnership's apprenticeship scheme?

At the age of 16 I jumped straight into the working environment which was great for experience, but not so great for qualifications.  I had jobs with well-established companies that offered career progression, but this was never the case.  All my friends were in their final year of university and I had nothing to hold to my name.  I seemed to be stuck in limbo and found myself losing any ambition I ever had.  I knew that John Lewis was a business different from any other and heard that the Partnership could offer both a career and the qualifications through the apprenticeship scheme.  With a bit more research, I discovered that this truly is a business that cares for its Partners and will do all it can to support the aspirations of its co-owners.

What was the induction like?

The induction was a week long and fantastic opportunity to get to know the business as it is.  I had a full branch tour followed by a further maintenance branch tour, seeing the ins and outs of our building.  Along the way I met a whole host of Partners with many years of experience behind them.  I was then buddied up with a Partner who was there to guide me and to show me the ‘whats and hows’ our each working day.  I had regular catch ups to discuss the apprenticeship program and how to complete the work booklets provided.  The induction was very beneficial and a great start to the journey.

What do you do on a daily basis?

No one day is the same.  I am currently a nursery advisor in Cardiff and one day I could be carrying out a car seat fit the next I could be holding an all-day nursery advice appointment and there have been other days where I have worked in different parts of the store.  Whilst completing my apprenticeship I would get one day a week off the shop floor to work on the work booklet and to plan what I would do for the next week.  I have been able to organise Easter events and store transfers as well as a whole host of other events.   I am fully trained on Audio and I can sell the odd TV here and there.  As well as a selling assistant I am also a Partner Voice deputy, where I will support the representative to voice the opinions of the Partners we work with.

What do you enjoy most?

I love being able to work off my own initiative and the ability to push myself further than what I previously could of imagined.  I had the freedom to develop my own learning and from this I was able to organise a transfer between two John Lewis stores, take lead whilst running a marketing event for Easter and work in parts of the business I didn’t know could exist.  From here I was able to build on my strengths and weakness’ while developing new transferable skills.  I was also incredibly lucky to be able to work in Head Office, Victoria for a week where I spent time with our Partner Development team, registry, communications, buying and Charlie Mayfield our Chairman. Its things like this that shows our Partnership is different from any other retailer out there.  

What skills are necessary to perform well?

You need to be hard working, motivated, be able to work from your own initiative, passionate, driven and be a great team player.  These are the key attributes that will see you succeed.

What advice would you give to someone applying to the John Lewis Partnership IT apprenticeship scheme?

Be yourself, there is no need to try and be someone you’re not.  When applying don’t try to paint a picture that doesn't represent your true nature, don’t be afraid to put your personality into the application as well as the interview.  As for the interviews, the best advice again would be to be yourself and talk.  If you don’t speak during the interview, whoever is assessing you will have great difficulty trying to pick out your strengths and weakness’. It is also important to understand the scheme you are applying for, you will need motivation, ambition, a positive attitude, as well as a whole host of other attributes that would make you a great Partner.  Being both hardworking and driven is essential but if you can bring this to the table, you will have a fantastic career ahead of you.  

How has this apprenticeship affected your career prospects?

I have grown in confidence and I have my ambition back. I aim to become a section manager in the near future however; I would like to develop my skills further becoming a Regional Learning Facilitator.  

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