Boots UK Work Inspiration Programme

Channel 4 Work Inspiration Award - Winner 2012, Reaccredited 2013, 2014

Boots UK provides young people with work experience and inspiration for the future, involving over 5,000 young people in the last three years. 15 work experience placements are specifically targeted for disadvantaged young people within the care system in Nottingham and 16-24 year olds Not in Education, Employment and Training.

Business impacts

  • 99% reported to have a clear insight into the opportunities and roles available within a major retailer such as Boots UK
  • The programme is a useful recruitment tool which acts as a ‘fast track’ to their apprenticeship scheme

Societal impacts

  • Participants helped design Boots apprenticeship scheme providing valuable advice direct from the target audience
  • 95% of students reported improved confidence following the week
  • 86% of participants said they felt more positive about their careers and what they needed to do next

We were particularly impressed by the way its leadership has embedded this agenda – making it part of the DNA of the business. It reaches out to those furthest from employment by engaging with care leavers and other disadvantaged groups

- Diane Herbert - HR Director, Channel 4,
Chair, Award Judging Panel, Channel 4 Work Inspiration Award
  The Work Inspiration programme allows Boots to attract future talent. This year it will include a selection event to identify potential candidates for their brand new apprenticeship programme.

Across the UK, 53% of young people exit care with no qualifications and only 6% go on to higher education. Boots UK as a part of their work with BITC’s RISE programme, provides RISE participants with places on their Work Inspiration programme, so that they can receive an inspirational experience in a real job role, building their knowledge of opportunities available to them within Boots UK, and helping them consider future career options. 

This approach ensures that the students get to experience what it is like to be part of a diverse workforce, aiming for the same goals and that all young people work together throughout the week regardless of age, background, and whether they are at school (be it private or state).  

Boots carefully assigns students their chosen functional placement, to ensure that they obtain the maximum benefit from the real job role, enabling them to develop their interpersonal skills as well as having a clearer idea of where they may wish to do in the future.

Participants are also exposed to real challenges faced by a Retail business.  In their ‘Dragons Den’ project young people were asked what our business should focus on to remain ahead of competitors.

Top Tips

Engagement: The leadership and support of senior management is central to success.  Through this leadership you ensure engagement at all levels of the business. 

Feedback: It is essential to provide a structured ongoing programme that is fit for purpose for the young people.  Build on the ideas of previous students and include clear accountabilities and responsibilities for all involved.

Pilot: The benefit of this is to ‘iron out’ any teething problems before expansion of the programme. This means you can share best practice and ensure a consistent approach.

Student quotation:

"…I really enjoyed meeting and finding out about all the different people and their jobs, it has given me a great insight into Boots UK itself, but also what I would like to do with my future – thank you again"

 

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