It all started as a job for Christmas

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I’m Sophia. I’m 19 years old and I work as an Assistant Store Manager at Boots UK in Birmingham Airport."

I started my time with Boots UK as a Christmas temp in October 2012. The store where I was originally based was on the high street, so it differs quite a lot from what I do now. I began as a temporary member of staff, where a lot of my time was spent on the fragrance counter, helping people to choose the perfect scents for their friends, families and loved ones.

During this time, I got to learn a lot about how the store worked as I was able to help out with loads of different things. The permanent staff always appreciated the assistance, so when the opportunities arose, I would always help out with delivery, putting stock to shelves and generally seeing what went on and needed to be done to keep the store running efficiently.

During my time on the high street, I learned a lot about customer service and I really grew in confidence when approaching people; this really helped with my people skills. Unfortunately, towards the end of my contract, my manager informed me they were unable to keep me on as a permanent member of staff at that time. I worked from the beginning of October through to the end of January. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the business and kept my eyes peeled for vacancies elsewhere within Boots.

In April 2013, I re-joined Boots. I applied for a temporary position over the summer working the late shift of a weekend. After a successful interview and a quick refresher of how the tills worked, I was back in the business!  After working over Christmas on the high street I thought I knew what a busy store looked like, but it soon became apparent that I had no clue whatsoever! The intensity of the shifts throughout the summer was unbelievable but it showed me that I had a passion for retail and it was something that I really wanted to develop my career in and contribute to.

From the April through ‘til the September I worked my normal weekend late shift and learned more and more each day. In September, I was offered a place on the ‘Stepping Stones’ course, this was to help me to progress to management over the following twelve months.  I began working full time as a Customer Assistant in December 2013 in order to help grow my experience within store and prepare me for becoming a manager when the vacancy was open. Over the five months following that, I worked alongside the other Assistant Store Managers in order to learn everything first hand, get to know my staff and familiarise myself with all the simple processes that can seem impossible the first few times you do them!

In May 2014 I officially stepped up as an Assistant Store Manager and haven’t looked back since. I love every aspect of my job, the staff, the operations and the customer interaction. I also look after ‘Shrink’ for the area, which is a great stretch opportunity for me too. I never thought that a three month temporary weekend job would be the start of my career. Boots UK really gives back as a company, and to be able to say I lead such a fantastic team within it is something I am really proud of.

Sophia Assistant Manager at Birmingham Airport