Day 4 of National Apprentice Week – It’s all about Logistics, with Becky and Lauren.
It’s day four of National Apprenticeship Week and we want to celebrate all the amazing work our apprentices do every day.
Each day this week, we will share their experience and what they’ve been up to. Thursday is all about Lauren and Becky, Logistics Apprentices at AO and their experience so far.
What’s your role at AO?
(Rebecca) We’re both ‘Rotational Apprentices’, which means that we go into about 14 different departments within the business to learn how the company functions as a whole.
(Lauren) So depending on the department our roles can differ. In some departments we’re given projects like investigating smarter ways to improve a process. Then in other departments we help with daily tasks and get ‘hands on’. Either way we have to learn about the importance of each department, which gives us a great feel for the business.
What drew you to AO originally?
(Lauren) I was looking for a job but, at the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do. But when I saw the Rotational Apprentice role it was perfect. Having the chance to move around departments and find out my likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses was something that most people don’t get to do at the start of their career. That kind of insight can take years to figure out, normally. But hopefully I’ll know in just 18 months.
(Rebecca) I volunteered for work experience and absolutely loved it.
What ‘s your favourite part of working for AO?
(Rebecca) Probably getting to experience all of the different departments around the business. It’s quite unique, getting such a comprehensive overview of the business. Plus you get to meet so many people, and everybody loves working here so it’s a nice atmosphere, where ever you start working.
(Lauren) That’s true. There’s a massive sense of community in the company. It’s not just about coming to work and doing your job alongside colleagues, you actually end up working with your friends. Everybody works hard and plays harder, and it makes such a massive difference in how you feel about coming to work. Plus, you’re treated like an employee, so it makes you feel like your making a difference and the work you do is valuable and important.
Did you always want an apprenticeship?
(Lauren) Not really. I’d already had one that didn’t work out, so going down that road again wasn’t something I wanted to do, but this rotational experience was too good to pass up. I’m just glad I put myself forward because this type of opportunity wouldn’t be available unless you were doing an apprenticeship.
(Rebecca) I didn’t want to either, I was absolutely set on going to Uni because that’s what people do. But when I started my Saturday job it got me thinking about what it is I really wanted to do and what would suit me, and getting a head start on work by doing an apprenticeship was the best decision!
What’s been your best moment so far?
(Lauren) I’ve had two. Recently I was working in the Quality Department and worked a project for door-reversals (which is when an appliance is delivered and the customer needs the appliance door to open the other way around). Basically I needed to investigate whether or not drivers were getting enough time to complete this service: as it was noticed that drivers were always running behind on their ETA. I presented my findings to the Director of Quality and it resulted in a process change that had a positive impact on the business. The other great moment was being nominated for Employee of the Month. Again it just highlights the fact that AO don’t treat you as ‘just another apprentice’ – you really do feel valued. I didn’t win it, but it was just such a lovely feeling to be nominated.
(Rebecca) I was really proud of my Duke of Edinburgh group after our presentation to the Senior Management. Presenting was never my strong point, especially when it’s in front of management. But the whole thing ran smoothly and we’re really proud of ourselves.
What has been your biggest challenge?
(Rebecca) Probably time management. It’s not that I’ve ever been bad at it, it’s more the step up from school to work. Now I have to ensure everything is done when expected whilst making sure I’m on top of college work. I enjoy the pressure, but it definitely feels like a gear change from School.
(Lauren) My most challenging moment was from the Duke of Edinburgh (D of E). I was completely out of my comfort zone with the presentations but being put on the course has pushed me into developing my confidence and self-belief.
What has made you realise that this is what you wanted to do?
(Lauren) I was just extremely confused and had no idea what I wanted to do as a career, so the sheer amount of variety is what made me realise this was a good option for me. I loved the fact that I could find my niche and where I best fit in a company by trialling all these different types of job roles without having to keep leaving companies and go through loads of different jobs – the rotational opportunity completely provides you with the best of both worlds.
(Rebecca) For me it was the weeks work experience I did. I didn’t know work places could be like this.
What are your hopes for the future?
(Rebecca) I’d really like to progress through the company and move into management.
(Lauren) Me too. I hope I find the department that suits me and brings out the best of my strengths. I want to develop enough to be capable of fulfilling a management role and be able to make a difference in the company.
So what do you think you’ve learned so far from your apprenticeship?
(Lauren) It feels like I’ve learned so much in such a short space of time, and not just in work but on a personal level. My problem solving skills have improved. I’ve learned how to be a team player, stay motivated. And in work it’s things like improved knowledge of Excel, time and task management. It’s been great!
(Rebecca) I feel the same. I’ve gained a lot of confidence and developed things like my communication and time management, and they’re both skills I can take forward into my personal life too.