Trainee retail manager

PUBLISHED: 09:23 07 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:32 07 June 2013

Trainee retail manager Jordan Palmer

Trainee retail manager Jordan Palmer


Why is it a good profession?

I like working at PJ’s as I find it very satisfying to know that you are providing a valuable and much-needed service to the local community. I like to see happy, satisfied customers in the store.

I started off as a paper boy with the company when I was 13 years old and then began working a couple of part-time shifts at weekends. While studying for my A levels I approached the owner of PJ’s to see if there was a possibility of enrolling on the NVQ course which I knew the company ran.

I gave up my A Levels straight away and within weeks I had enrolled on the NVQ Retail course under the guidance of Poultec Training. While working full-time, and with Poultec’s expert help, I passed the course in eight months and then immediately started on the retail management course – which I successfully completed at the end of last year. I plan to take further courses in the near future including my personal alcohol licence.

What does the work involve?

I work from 2-10pm five days a week. The main part of my job is to provide excellent customer service and to run the store in the absence of the store owner. I have some responsibility for ordering and stock receiving and am responsible for the setting up and monitoring of the in-store promotions which we run on a monthly basis.

What are the positives/negatives of this profession?

The most positive thing about the work is working with the public. I find it rewarding when they appreciate good service. It is also exciting to try the new products before anyone else and then being able to promote the ones you think will do well – especially when they then fly off the shelves.

It’s also a great feeling to be part of an organisation that contributes to the local community – over the years the shop has made charity donations to local schools, church groups and individuals, supporting them in their attempts to raise much needed funds.

I think the negatives are exactly the same as for any job really – the routine that is necessary to ensure the efficient running of the store and the pressure of deadlines to get tasks completed.

Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?

I think that in the current economic climate, demand for this type of job (where you can start with no or little experience) is extremely high. We constantly get requests for application forms – PJ’s has three stores and the business has been established for more than 21 years.

However, there are no vacancies at present – local independent stores are feeling the pressure from the multiples, so many small local independent operators are tending not to replace staff, covering additional hours themselves.

What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?

A basic level of maths and English is important. Tills will do much of the work, but it is useful to have the mental arithmetic as back-up. All full-time members of staff are encouraged to take up professional qualifications, such as NVQs as well as health and safety and health and hygiene certificates.

However, the most important thing to have is good interpersonal skills – being able to get on with customers and colleagues – as well as the basic personal qualities of good time-keeping, reliability and honesty.

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