AF Blakemore opened its doors to 23 work experience students this summer as part of its Work Inspiration Programme.
Students from across the company’s trading area embarked on placements across the business, with the programme stretching from South Wales to the West Midlands.
The aim of Blakemore’s Work Inspiration Programme is, says the wholesaler, “to inspire students and enable them to enter the workplace successfully by providing a meaningful experience of the world of work.”
Blakemore community affairs officer Liz Bell said: “Every year we are getting more and more young people approaching our business for work experience.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the departments that have hosted students this summer and donated time to giving them hands-on experience of the world of work.”
Blakemore also welcomed an intern from Spar Italy to the company on an 11-week work placement.
University student Valentin Santa (pictured above in Wolverhampton), whose family run a Spar store in Italy, is part of Spar International’s Next Generation Programme. Valentin arrived in England on June 13 to learn about Blakemore’s operations.
“My internship was composed of nine weeks at work and two weeks of holiday. In order to get a full overview of the company, I went to a different department each week. I spent time in store recruitment, Blakemore Design & Shopfitting, Blakemore Property, a Blakemore Retail store, logistics operations, merchandising, business development and Human Resources,” he said.
“By shadowing different managers almost every day, I could see different approaches and different thinking. All of the managers are good at what they do and all of them love what they do. That is the most important thing I learnt. If you love what you do, your job is not just hard work but enjoyable as well. I got an insight into many different jobs and understood what is behind complicated processes. Some very good operational methods, like promotional offers, shop formats, shelf layouts and simple tricks I will keep in mind and implement in my father’s shop shortly. All in all, I understood better what I would like to do in my future and what I would not.
“The most interesting areas I saw were the acquisition of new stores, reviewing of leases and business development. Finding new store locations and setting up rent reviews was exciting and very useful as well. The week with the business development managers helped me to absorb many ideas that I can implement in my own shop.”