Recently Superdrug and Savers – part of the AS Watson Group – made the switch to HABC for all their apprenticeship needs. As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 (3-7 March 2014), we spoke to Operations Manager Sue Johnston, and two learners, about how apprenticeships were bring real benefits both to the business and to young people.
Sue Johnston, Operations Manager, Superdrug and Savers
‘For us, one of the main benefits of Apprenticeships is the up-skilling of our workforce. Apprenticeships bring in new people who, given the opportunity and the right training, can become a key element of our succession plan. Great people means great service, which in retail can also have a positive effect on sales and the profitability of the business.
Our Apprentices gain a qualification as well as some very valuable life skills such as increased confidence, better communication skills and self-belief, all of which are transferable into any other workplace or further education scheme.
To any business considering taking on apprentices, I would say ‘Go for it!’ You are giving a young person an opportunity to develop their skills, get on the career ladder and gain valuable experience. The business also benefits from this experience. It’s a win-win situation.
I would say for young people considering an Apprenticeship; choose carefully and ensure the area you want to go into is right for you. If possible, volunteer somewhere first to be sure. But once you have made your choice, you’ll get a qualification, valuable experience, a chance of a permanent job at the end – all whilst getting paid….Why wouldn’t you?
Eighty percent of our completed Apprenticeships have gained a permanent role within our business, but one of our great success stories is Christy.
Christy became an apprentice after completing a 6-week Retail Traineeship through the Job Centre voluntarily, as she was registered unemployed. She showed such promise during those 6 weeks that we offered her the opportunity of doing an Apprenticeship. Christy completed her qualification over 12 months and gained a permanent contract. She has recently been promoted from being a Sales Assistant to a Store Supervisor – and she is still only 18!
We chose to work with HABC for Apprenticeships because of their customer service, their family atmosphere and the fact that they include you as a provider, rather than dictate to you. So far it’s been an excellent experience and there is always someone to answer your questions. We meet regularly to discuss our future and where to want to develop, and HABC fully support us in this.’
Christy Horsley, Superdrug (Apprenticeship: Retail Skills)
‘I chose an apprenticeship over other courses as I prefer to learn practically. Classrooms never suited my learning style and doing an apprenticeship meant I was getting experience, as well as a qualification.
So far the best part for me has been passing my tests. I was very nervous but with the support from my assessor and my manager, I sailed through each one first time. I’m already achieving my goal of getting a permanent position as I have now completed my apprenticeship. I am now a store supervisor, but I want to continue learning do more so that one day I may be a store manager, helping other people become what they want to be.
To any other young people considering an apprenticeship, I would say this is the best thing I ever did. If you like being hands-on then take the opportunity, work hard and you will achieve your goals. I did!’
Gemma Southcoat, Superdrug (Apprenticeship: Retail Skills)
‘I wanted to have a career, not just a job, so I though an apprenticeship would be the best way to start that process as it could lead to so much more.
Working with the team and the customers has been the highlight for me. I am a trainee sales assistant and work with the public every day in small town so you get to know the locals. I love the customer service part of this role as I can help people, learn new skills and I am so much more confident talk to people now than I used to be.
I hope that my apprenticeship will give me the opportunity to stay in retail with my current employer, but if not with them then certainly in the same area of the business. I want to progress and work towards being a manager of my own store one day.
My apprenticeship has helped me now only with the knowledge of retail but also in myself. I was quite shy to begin with, and now I am far more confident and outgoing.’
To find out why more and more organisations are moving to HABC for apprenticeships, check out the AS Watson testimonial video on Highfield TV: