Stuart Cooper

Apprenticeship in Team Leading and Mentoring

'It has taught me everyone has individual qualities which need to be recognised'

Case Study

I began my apprenticeship in February 2017, it seemed a little disjointed to start with as I believe it was quite a new venture within Aldi as a company. I seemed to have various people who would be potentially be guiding us through the year and would meet with us regularly so as to keep our progress monitored, this didn’t seem to be very satisfactory and made the process difficult and in fact quite confusing.

It wasn’t until my first visit to Atherstone RDC for my first Masterclass Course, in the company of other apprentices, which was really good and interesting to meet guys from other areas, albeit a little daunting as they were all Section Leaders and my colleague and I were not even Section Deputies at the time. This was in my mind the turning point for me, and the path I would take for the rest of my Apprenticeship.

I met Paula Gower, an extremely enthusiastic, knowledgeable instructor and just a very nice person who from that moment took charge and guided me through the remaining months of my course, Paula called,emailed, visited, she was always there to help and advise. Her knowledge of the subject was second to none, and I always took so much from attending all the Masterclasses she took.

With Paula’s guidance, I have learnt so much which is helping within my role as a Team Leader and Mentor, especially when guiding my own apprentices on their journey to become professional drivers within the company. Last year saw four young guys come in to start their apprenticeship and as I did my own apprenticeship alongside them, we could both learn together. They are all now contracted drivers and are doing really well and have fitted into the team really well. Following on, I have a new group this year, five in total and I am looking forward to guiding these guys through their journey over the months ahead, taking with me the knowledge I have been lucky enough to take on board over the past year, thanks to Paula.

My experiences over the last year has given me the tools to identify the needs of a team, how to mould and encourage somebody to achieve, whether it be in a one to one situation or in a team meeting. It has taught me everyone has individual qualities which need to be recognized. I have been able to recognize the need to put into place training, which will be the most beneficial to achieve the right result, and which also enables me to guide and encourage, so as to reach everyone’s potential, it is such a rewarding job.

Stuart Cooper

Deputy section leader, Transport, Chelmsford RDC


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