Let's talk about LEAP - Our colleague takeover!

Let's talk about LEAP - Our colleague takeover!
Meet James Eales, our Assistant HR Advisor at The Midcounties Co-operative. James shares with us his experiences of a LEAP Apprenticeship programme! Take it away James...

Hi, I’m James Eales and I originally started at Midcounties in November 2018 as an Apprentice Membership Administrator. Since then, I’ve had several roles within the Society including Young Co-operators Network Co-ordinator, Resourcing Co-ordinator and my current role as Assistant HR Advisor.

Why did I choose to complete an Apprenticeship?

Coming into the Society after working in a bar for four years, I thought it would be a great idea to touch up on my customer service skills. Not only is this useful for my current role, but it has been essential for all of my roles as I’m consistently engaging with external stakeholders and colleagues across the different business groups. 

What was my experience like on my Apprenticeship?

Whilst I was completing my Apprenticeship, the Society was really understanding when it came to completing my coursework during work time. My manager was always on hand to help me with any questions I had and my tutor at Walsall College was always an email or phone call away, he would help with any concerns or questions I had during my modules. I found juggling the coursework and my job really easy, as I had set days where I could solely work on my apprenticeship and ensure that I had completed everything I needed to do.

How have the knowledge, skills and behaviours I learnt on my Apprenticeship helped me in my career?

As part of my Apprenticeship, I was able to visit various trading groups to see how they operated on a daily basis. I was able to visit Funeral, Food, Energy, Travel and a few departments within Head Office. I was able to see how different colleagues approached customers and external clients and it provided me with a really wide range of skills to learn. The main lesson I took away from this was to know your audience! In businesses like Funeral and Travel, its very client orientated so you take your time to meet their full expectations and needs. Knowing this has helped me develop my career within the Society as I’ve been able to build connections and relationships with various stakeholders, ranging from colleagues to members of the Board!

My tips and advice for anyone thinking of completing an Apprenticeship:

If you’re thinking of applying for an Apprenticeship, I have three words for you…Go for it! By doing an Apprenticeship, not only do you get to expand your knowledge and transferrable skills, but you also get paid to gain extra qualifications, which is always a bonus!

A useful tip that helped me through my Apprenticeship is to put tasks into your calendar and make sure you stick to them! It’s so easy to do one more email, but if you have reminders in your calendar, you can manage your time a lot better and this means you won’t fall behind on coursework.

If I’ve inspired you to look into what apprenticeship options are available for you, why not get in touch with our L&D team at [email protected]