During the summer we've been carrying out a Junior Apprenticeship for 7-11 year olds in Papilio home. If you missed the first post on why we're doing it you can have a read here.
Today I'm sharing what we've been up to with the kids. Each child has had four sessions with us, (each of 1 hour long) and each covering a different aspect of running a shop/business.
Needless to say, a very important session! The kids spent the first part of the hour with me coming up with
different aspects of good customer service and putting each one on a different Tumbling Tower Brick. It was fascinating to see which points they came up with easily and which ones expanded their view on customer service. We then talked about the importance of excellent customer service and that if this doesn't take place then the business reputation and subsequently the business collapses. This time spent discussing Customer Service definitely opened some eyes in to how much there is to it, and that it's not just standing there behind a till!
Each child then chose 3-4 of the blocks that they wanted to 'work on' whilst spending the rest of the session on the till with a Papilio home team member. It was lovely to see lots of kids faces light up when we said that 'yes, they'd be serving real customers'. There was a lot of speaking clearly, smiling, saying hello and giving the correct change going on. If you were one of the customers who was served by a Junior Apprentice, thank you very much for your support and encouragement to them. It was very much appreciated.
A 'hidden' aspect of running a shop that often gets overlooked is the receiving and handling of stock. For this session the children got to spend time upstairs (so going past the Staff Only sign, very exciting!) helping Laura to receive deliveries; checking the products against delivery notes, checking for any damages, putting the stock details and quantities onto the till, pricing the products and then putting them either onto the shop floor or away in the stock room. My favourite quote at the end of this session was "my legs are tired, I've had to stand up for a whole hour!".
Although it may not be everyone's favourite subject, you can't have a retail apprenticeship without talking about Finance. Thankfully doing that discussion as a word search makes it a little bit more interesting. We discussed just how many things have to be paid for out of the difference between an items cost and sale price. To try and help out their parents I did point out which ones also have to be paid for at home! Although why do we pay for water, when "you can just get it out of a tap".
From finance we moved onto Forward Planning. I asked each child to suggest which occasion I am currently placing orders for. Christmas was the most popular answer, when I told them that was mostly finished by the end of March and that I'm now ordering for Easter, there was a lot of jaw dropping! We are though, having to prepare for Christmas as deliveries start arriving in the next few weeks. Part of that preparation is getting our Christmas ribbon printed for the chocolate boxes and each child got involved with this. Seeing 80 metres of ribbon print at once is a fun experience, particularly when we get the tape measure out and work out how many of each child that is!
The final session for every child was Marketing. They had to each choose their favourite product in the shop and then answer some questions about it. Some have written their answers for a blog and a couple have recorded videos. These will appear on this website over the next few weeks.
Windows are an important part of our local marketing and some of the children got to create windows to advertise that weeks Summer Fun in the Garden theme.
These sessions went very quickly, but each child has gone away with an overview of some of the many aspects involved in running a business.