Having been a Store Manager in Retail for more years than I care to mention at this time, I thought that I pretty much knew everything that I needed to know about my job.
I was wrong. Yes, I understood the basic requirements of my job role and what I needed to do on a daily basis to ensure that my store functioned to its best ability, but signing up onto this apprenticeship highlighted to me some aspects that I didn’t know – or should I say understand – as much as I thought I did.
The most interesting – and educational – part of this qualification for me, has to be the Safeguarding module. Although we have briefly covered over this topic in work and have policies in place to cover it, it wasn’t a subject that I considered to be of much relevance in my sector until I started the work for it.
Before starting my apprenticeship, I thought of safeguarding as ‘looking after the kids’ that we employ.
Now that I’m well into my apprenticeship, I understand that there is much more to it than that. The sheer scale of the subject is much broader that I could have ever imagined and I am now confident that I can utilise what I have learnt from this to help out anyone who may be in need with regards any safeguarding concerns. I now have a level of understanding of not only the term ‘safeguarding’, but the signs to look out for, ways to broach the subject with others and what processes are involved if the need arose.
Another part of the course that I found really enlightening was the Coaching Models. I have always strived to train my team members to be the best at what they do. Looking into and researching the various coaching models that are out there was a real eye-opener. I had come across them briefly throughout my life, but I had never really paid them much attention. Being able to work with them now that I better understand them, is really going to help me focus my training efforts with my team. We will be able to better clarify what outcomes we are aiming for and plan for any obstacles that may cause an issue before they actually are.
I originally liked the GROW Model. It was simple, yet affective. However, after recently being introduced to the WOOP Model, I am now a changed woman. My personal feeling that this is a great model as it gives you the chance to really personalise the coaching. You are asking your learner what their ‘WISH’ is. This really puts the message across to the learner that what we are aiming to do, we are doing it for them. It’s what they want to achieve and we’re going to create a plan to help them to that.
There are countless other points that I have learnt from working on this apprenticeship and already I find that I am using them in my daily life. From keeping colleagues motivated by giving them current and up-to-date Information, Advice & Guidance during what is a very uncertain time at work, to helping to keep family members feeling positive and engaged by using PETs (Performance Enhancing Thoughts) to ward off PITs (Performance Interfering Thoughts) as I learnt through the Open University Course I completed due to this apprenticeship.
Signing up to this apprenticeship, I figured it was going to be an easy way for me to get a qualification as I already knew most of the content involved. Admittedly, I was wrong on that front. I only knew a small fraction of what’s needed. But I was right about it being easy. The workload is more than achievable, the support from my Coach and NTA has been incredible, and the level of knowledge I now have compared to when I started, is astounding – and I haven’t even finished it yet!
So in answer to the question, ‘Should you do an Apprenticeship?’ from my experience, I would say ‘Yes, yes you should!’.