Experience, education and a salary: at McDonald’s, you can earn while you learn, and secure yourself a bright future career. Amber Mold has chosen to do just that. Now about to start her second year of the McDonald’s Management Degree Programme, she’s well on her way to gaining a degree (cost free!) and becoming part of the next generation of McDonald’s Business Managers – leading multi-million pound restaurants.
Amber Mold, 19
Interests: Volunteering with Girl guides, keen interest in all sports!
Achievements: 4 A* A-levels, Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award
When did you start working at McDonald’s?
I started working part- time for McDonald’s in September 2015, just as I was starting my Sixth Form studies.
Why did you apply for the programme at McDonald’s?
From my first day at McDonald’s, I realised this was the company that I wanted to build my career with. Initially, I had planned to go full time after completing my A-Levels and try to work my way up to management level via the traditional career path. However, the opportunity of the apprenticeship came at the perfect time for me to get the best of both worlds. It meant that I didn’t have to give up studying and could obtain a university degree whilst still working directly for the company that I loved.
What opportunities has the programme provided you with?
This programme has provided me with countless opportunities. I had always performed well academically and enjoyed studying. However, my heart was set on working for McDonald’s and I didn’t want to leave. The apprenticeship has enabled me to study subjects directly related to the industry which I work in, with the goal of being a fully qualified manager at the end of the 5 years. There is the added bonus of ‘earning whilst learning’, which has given me a secure financial start in life.
What have you learnt so far?
As it’s my first year, I have been concentrating on qualifying as a shift manager, following the McDonald’s curriculum alongside working with ‘Lifetime Training’ to obtain a Level 3 in Hospitality Supervision. Instore I have learnt how to cook and serve food, motivate and manage teams, food and restaurant safety, laws and policies and cash and safe management. I have also passed an external first aid at work qualification.
How transferable are the skills you are learning?
All McDonald’s employees have the opportunity to develop many soft skills including communication, teamwork and problem solving. This course enables me to develop all of these physical skills in greater depth whilst working in-store. In addition, through studying it enables me to gain a greater theoretical understanding of business. All the knowledge that I have gained so far is totally transferable and relevant to anybody wishing to work in the food or service industry.
What are you excited about for the future?
This apprenticeship, with its clear career structure has made me very excited for my future. I am working for a global company where I feel that the opportunities are endless. I hope to always be able to contribute outstanding performance and one day, do something worthy of achieving a Ray Kroc Award.
How do you think this programme will help your career?
I believe that this programme will provide me with all the tools needed to become a successful and influential manager. One aspect which will help my career is that I have been able to visit people from all areas of the company including head office staff and the farmers involved in food production. This has helped me gain a wider understanding of the company, which will be invaluable to me as I progress.
What do you like about working in the restaurant? What do you enjoy about working at McDonald’s?
I love the fast-paced, team and customer focused environment. My greatest sense of satisfaction is when I can help a customer with a problem or complaint, and actually get them to leave happy and say thank you to me.
I feel that working for McDonald’s gives you a real sense of belonging and I feel like I am a part of the ‘McFamily’.
How do you find balancing studying and working?
Having come straight out of A-Levels and into the apprenticeship I have had no problem adjusting to the workload because I already had a routine for studying. Furthermore, I receive 8 hours a week of dedicated ‘off the floor training’ as part of my schedule. This means I can study in the morning when my brain is fresh, rather than having to go home and study in the evening after work.
Do you feel McDonald’s provides you with flexibility?
I absolutely love the flexibility that shift working gives me and it makes the working week more varied.
What qualities do you think you need to have to be successful in this role?
I feel that the qualities needed to be a successful apprentice are a genuine interest in McDonald’s and a willingness to give exceptional customer service. Also, you need to be organised with your study and time management and strive to continuously improve your knowledge. Additionally, it is important to learn from any mistakes, accept advice from people more experienced than you and not be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure.
What advice would you give others considering a McDonald’s Apprenticeship?
I found having already worked part time for McDonalds gave me a huge advantage as I was already absolutely certain that McDonald’s was the right career choice for me. Although previous experience is not essential, it is helpful to have some understanding of the store’s policies and procedures as it will help you with your first year of learning.
How do you think you personally benefitted from doing an Apprenticeship?
I feel that the McDonald’s Management Degree Apprenticeship will help me to reach my full potential. On a purely personal level, choosing the apprenticeship route as opposed to going away to university has enabled me to stay at home and save money, instead of getting into student debt. Staying at home with my parents means I can save money for a house deposit and afford to run my car.
As someone who has always enjoyed studying and challenging myself, I’m really pleased to still be able to be involved in further education. For me, being on this course truly is the best of both worlds.
What do Amber’s parents and managers think?
Amber’s Parents, Nikki and Nick Mold: “As parents, we were absolutely thrilled to hear Amber had gained a McDonald’s Management Degree Apprenticeship. We already knew how much she enjoyed the McDonald’s way of life and we were excited to know she was going to be able to advance her education to degree level, whilst earning a good salary.
It is no exaggeration to say that the apprenticeship is a dream come true for all of us.”
Gregg Fox, Franchisee: “I am really encouraged with the management degree programme and the significant potential it offers to our business. Amber is proving to be a motivated, engaging and extremely capable student. Demonstrating that for the right candidate, this opportunity provides a compelling alternative to the more traditional university route.
Although Amber’s training is planned for the long term the whole process is very exciting and offers another dimension to our management development programme. Strengthening our standing as an employer and contributing significantly to the ongoing success of the business.
Indeed Amber’s potential is so apparent, I am very confident that as she progresses through her course she will develop into one of our key leadership members.”
Lifetime Trainer: “Amber joined the programme very enthusiastic and ready to learn new skills and knowledge to assist her in her role. She is never afraid to ask when she is unsure of things and has prepared some fantastic revision notes and independent learning notes compiled to assist her. She puts me to shame with her organisation skills and content of her notes!
Amber has received great support within the restaurant and is given the time to do her learning and build her skills and knowledge. Amber has shown to me at our session’s some great work and been able to relay her knowledge back to me and has found some of the activities we have done together formative and interesting and always thanks me for my time.
I’m positive Amber will shine throughout the rest of her time with me and throughout her career and future with McDonalds.”
To read more of our Apprentice stories, visit people.mcdonalds.co.uk