Our Joules development journey started a couple of years ago with a brand-new learning and development team, who created (MDP) our Joules Management Development Programme and (LDP) our Leadership Development Programme. These were made available across Head Office, the Joules Distribution Centre (JDC) and Retail. They initiated a thirst for knowledge, learning and development at Joules. Since then we have focused on supporting our colleagues through their development journeys, by providing them with the skills, knowledge and opportunities they need to excel and progress in their careers.

One of these opportunities came about two years ago with the introduction of The Apprenticeship Levy. While it is great that we can offer in-house development, we understand that our colleagues would like a nationally recognised qualification to signify their hard work and dedication to their roles. Violina Bowker, our Financial and Accounting Tax Manager, wanted to complete the level 5 qualification for this exact reason. She said: “due to the nature of the role I am in, it is beneficial to have a formal leadership qualification from a reputable and widely known professional body like the Chartered Institute of Management. I found the structure of the course appealing because of its theoretical and practical content and the ability to have one-on-one coaching sessions with an independent party.”

Since 2017 Joules has been offering apprenticeships to our retail teams, with some great successes; such as two Joules colleagues being nominated for ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards. Following this, we wanted to open the opportunity to both our Head Office and JDC teams. We chose to work with the BRC, because they are a nationally recognised organisation, the BRC came highly recommended and they offer great flexibility. They enabled us to tailor the programme to our needs, allowing us to create an apprenticeship programme that fitted in with our Joules values. We were able to adapt the learning to best suit the needs of the business, therefore creating a ‘Joules apprenticeship programme’ rather than an apprenticeship programme that feels unconnected to the brand.

We reached out to the Senior Leadership Team within Head Office and encouraged them to speak to their teams about the level 3 and level 5 apprenticeship offering. We held Webinars with the BRC and Corndel for anyone who was interested in signing up to the programme. This was a great opportunity for individuals to get more information on the programme and ask any questions. Enabling everyone to make an informed decision to join the apprenticeship programme.

We have been extremely lucky here at Joules that the 20% work commitment has been welcomed by line managers. They have a clear understanding of the experience our apprentices’ will get from this, meaning they can bring new ideas and passion into their roles. As a brand we are keen to develop our teams and create great succession opportunities. All line managers involved understand the benefits this apprenticeship programme will bring, not only for the individuals who are enrolled on the programme, but also their own development as they support, coach and mentor members of their team through the apprenticeship programme.

I am looking forward to continuing this journey with the BRC and Corndel, I feel passionately about creating development opportunities for our colleagues here at Joules, giving them continued chances to learn new skills and gain confidence in their roles. I look forward to seeing individuals succeed and progress as a result of this programme.

For more information about BRC apprenticeships, tailored for the retail industry, click here.