Meet our Apprentices!

It's National Apprenticeship Week! 

 

Our apprenticeship programme is something that we are extremely passionate about as a business

and are continously working hard to increaase the opportunities we have available! 

To help you understand just exactly what we offer, we had a chat with Gemma and Jack who help to lead and manage the programme...

...so have a read to find out more about what you can expect on your programme here! 

Gemma PS
Jack PS

Gemma Palmer, Early Careers Partner

Jack Norris, Talent Partner

Q: Hi Gemma! We're excited to get to know more about you! How long have you been here at River Island?

Hi! I've been here about 2 years and 4 months, and am now one month in to my new role as Early Careers Partner

 

Q: Could you give us an overview of your role, what you do & who you look after?

I am a big advocate of apprenticeships and providing opportunities for people to develop and progress their career. So I work with learning providers to find great apprenticeships and qualification for new and existing employees. We have people on apprenticeships from A-Level standard to Masters degree!

We also have our own Retail Team Leader apprenticeship and I'm here to make sure that we are delivering a quality learning experience to our future managers.

 

I am currently leading on building and maintaining partnerships with Fashion Colleges and Universities to promote River Island as a great place to work to creative and inspiring students to help to build a pipeline of talent to the business, which is very exciting! 

 

Q: For anyone applying for a River Island Apprenticeship, what’s the process and  what do you need?

For our Retail Team Leader apprenticeship, you will need to be endorsed by your manager and apply when the window is open.

 

We also have vacancies advertised on our careers page for apprenticeships as they arise!

 

If you are interested in a particular qualification, there may be an apprenticeship for that… you can check by speaking to your manager and get in touch with me to check if we can support you via an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are now open to everyone of all ages.

 

I am such a bit fan that I am currently enrolled in a HR CIPD qualification alongside my role!

 

Q: What’s been your best experience and/or memorable moment leading the apprenticeship programme?

The best experience I have had so far is when I was directly responsible for one of my apprentices learning for her Retail Team Leader qualification. She needed to complete her apprenticeship earlier than her group because she was due to go on maternity leave. I worked very closely on a 1 to 1 basis to guide her through and deliver her programme separately. She did so well that she passed with a distinction. I was on the phone with her to let her know and we both cried with pride.

 

Q: Any tips or advice for future RI Apprentices?

Make sure your manager is aware of your aspiration to develop new knowledge and skills and that they are able to support you to achieve your apprenticeship, they are key to the success of any apprenticeship programme.

 

Q: Hi Jack! Ready to tell us all you know?! So how long have you been here at River Island?

Hi! I've been here nearly 3 years this summer!

 

Q: Could you give us an overview of your role, what you do & who you look after?

 

I'm responsible for managing and delivering the Retail Apprenticeship Programme.

Yet prior to fashion, I spent four years working in various Learning and Development teams building my knowledge and experience to understand how best to develop individuals, both personally and professionally.

 

Q: For anyone applying for a River Island Apprenticeship, what’s the process and  what do you need?

 

We open our Retail Apprenticeship intake periodically, currently focusing on our Level 2 internal employees in-store, who possess the determination and passion to drive their own career with River Island. 

The programme takes 18 months to complete and once passed, learners will achieve a Level 3 Retail Team Leader Apprenticeship – this is equivalent to two A-Levels!

The programme is made up of a range of learning, including face to face workshops, virtual sessions, in-store coursework and a 2-day charity placement. Throughout the programme the apprentices will have access to people and content that not everyone has a chance to experience – this is what makes our programme so unique.

 

Q: What’s been your best experience and/or memorable moment leading the apprenticeship programme?

 

It’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly one experience/moment being the highlight, as there’s been so many.

For me personally, clearly seeing the difference we are making to individuals and their teams is the most rewarding part of my job – being that direct link in giving someone the invaluable tools of personal progression is amazing!

 

Q: Any tips or advice for future RI Apprentices?

My top three tips would be - embrace every opportunity with both hands, don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and learn from your mistakes.

 

 

 

 

Why not hear from some our apprentices themselves?!

Tallulah & Hayley, Womenswear Allocators

"We're studying at the Fashion Retail Academy to gain a Level 4 qualification in Business and Professional Administration" 

 

Kally & Klaudia, Kidswear & Menswear Allocators 

"I decided to apply for this apprenticeship because I knew I wanted to gain experience and also get a qualification at the end of it" - Callie

"'I decided to start this apprenticeship after completing a Level 3 course in sixth form or college" - Claudia 

Fancy applying for one of these? 

If you're already at River Island, why not have a chat with Gemma or your line manager? 

If you want to be at River Island, check out our Early Careers Page & Head Office Page to see what we have available!

 

To find out what we're up to daily, you can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!