Leading by example is a key priority for Spar retailer Rebecca Sparkes and is one of the reasons she has undertaken an Apprenticeship alongside her staff.
29-year-old Rebecca is the Director of Norton House Retailing Ltd, a family-run business which trades under the Spar brand across three stores in Drakes Cross, Droitwich and Bromsgrove.
Currently in its 40th year of trading, Norton House Retailing Ltd was started by Rebecca’s father and uncle in 1972 when they took over the running of four shops from their father.
Rebecca joined the family firm in 2003, initially working as a Sales Assistant. She then worked her way up through the business to become Supervisor, Store Manager, Area Manager and now Director.
Rebecca felt the best way to learn all aspects of the retail environment, including theoretical and practical skills, was through an Apprenticeship, so she put herself and six managers on the Advanced Apprenticeship Retail Management Programme at Solihull College.
Rebecca comments: “I strongly believe in lifelong learning and self improvement and this encouraged me to put myself and the team on the Apprenticeship with Solihull College. The programme has given me the opportunity to take a step back and look at the business through unbiased eyes, and I have learnt many new ideas to implement for business growth. The programme has also given my managers a unique insight into the company and how businesses are run, covering many areas that may not normally be taken into account. They have shown a great increase in confidence and knowledge since they started the programme, which has had a positive impact on the business.”
21-year-old Jade Miller, who started working at the Spar in Drakes Cross as a part-time Sales Assistant whilst training to be a hairdresser, is now the Store Manager.
She comments: “I never thought I’d become Store Manager of the Spar when I first starting working here but now I can’t imagine doing anything else. The Apprenticeship has completely changed me - I love my job and I am so much more confident dealing with customers and handling managerial issues.”
Solihull College offers the Retail Apprenticeship at two levels – Intermediate and Advanced – which covers areas including stock storage and order processing, merchandising, and customer service amongst others. On completion, learners will gain the Diploma in Retail Operations and the Retail Operations Certificate at Level 2 or Level 3.