Samah’s story: A Coca-Cola European Partners apprenticeship means being truly VALUED by a big brand

Josh talks to Samah about her experience of being a business administration apprentice with a great brand like Coca-Cola European Partners. They pay well, understand the importance of a social life, and support their apprentices all the way.

WEBINAR: Samah tells Josh about her apprenticeship with Coca-Cola European Partners…

Being a CCEP apprentice means… independence

“Imagine if I was to get the apprenticeship and tell people I work at Coca-Cola,” says Samah. “That’s just really cool.”

Samah is 20 years old and a business administration apprentice based at Sidcup. She’d done business at college, liked the sound of the brand and felt like a business admin apprenticeship could be a good fit for her education and interests – especially since she didn’t want to go to university.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… responsibility

Her role in the planning department means she works in supply chain and it’s her responsibility to order materials. On a typical day she’ll come into work, look at what the stocks are and what’s needed, and order in advance. “It’s a big deal,” points out Samah, because if it comes to production day and vital materials like the lids for the drinks bottles aren’t there, that would be a bit of an issue!

Being a CCEP apprentice means… support

Samah said her dad was delighted when she told him she’d be doing an apprenticeship with Coca-Cola European Partners because it was a big company and he knew she’d be getting a lot of support. Once she started her apprenticeship, she knew she could turn to anyone for help, including managers and other apprentices too, because the apprentices are all there for each other.

Like all apprentices, Samah has learned how to balance her work, study and social life, and says she has got the balance and is totally fine with it.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… a social life

The induction was thirty days staying in a hotel at Uxbridge, where Samah got to meet all the apprentices in her year and combine the induction with socialising. “It was professional in the day and in the evening we all be a little bit more chilled,” says Samah.

“We give them apprentices best possible experience that they can possibly have,” says Sharon Blyfield. She explains how in 2019 she took the decision to bring all the apprentices that year together in the induction, so that they could start building that network together right from day one.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… variety

Samah really loved her induction because she got to spend two days each in every single department in the company, so she got a real taste for all the variety of work and what her place in the company could be.

As Samah points out, a big company means there are so many different options, because there are all kinds of different things to do and departments to work in as you start learning more about your skills and work interests.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… learning while you earn

While on site, Samah was given one day a week to do college work, and was allowed to choose her day. She chose Friday so she could do her work-based training as one big block.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… being fairly paid by a Youth Friendly Employer

At CCEP, apprenticeship salaries start at the national living wage for workers aged 25+ in the first year – even if you’re aged 17 or 18. They want you to have money to live your life, not just get by. For each year of the apprenticeship you get a substantial pay increase. As an example, when engineering apprentices finish their four-year programme they are earning £50K plus!

Being a CCEP apprentice means… getting respect

Apprentices are treated more like workers than students, says Samah, and it is understood by the company that young people are part of its future. Samah points out that a lot of company investment goes into the apprenticeships and as a result she very much feels valued and part of the team.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… progression

Samah was especially excited about getting to do a couple of days in field sales. Her role is in supply chain, but she had never really thought about the commercial side of things and was so interested in it that she could picture herself doing it one day after her business admin apprenticeship.

“As a young person trying to work out my career, Coca-Cola European Partners really do help me with that. I can actually see my future here and imagine myself spending the rest of my life working here!” Samah acknowledges that’s quite an amazing thing to be able to say when she started her apprenticeship knowing no-one and not really knowing about everything the company did.

Samah is also impressed that there are people at Coca-Cola European Partners who are still working there after becoming apprentices ten years ago – they clearly liked it enough to stay.

Samah spoke to another colleague working at Coca-Cola European Partners who did the same apprenticeship and is now studying for a degree, so Samah knows she can progress her career in terms of qualifications if she wants to. At the moment she is keeping her options open, knowing that she can always seek support and guidance from Coca-Cola European Partners at any time.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… opportunities

And Coca-Cola European Partners has an impressive range of opportunities for young people, too – even solicitor apprenticeships, for young legal eagles who want to get into law without taking the uni route. Every large company needs solicitors! With multiple apprenticeships and also degree apprenticeships on offer, the programmes and opportunities are constantly evolving to help young people join the organisation and progress in a way that works for them.

Samah is happy that she did her research when thinking about next steps and didn’t just narrow herself to one particular path.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… getting extra support when times are tough (like lockdown)

Want to know more? Take a look at how Coca-Cola European Partners are supporting their apprentices and young staff during COVID-19. They are making sure that apprenticeship training can continue uninterrupted, and ensuring that all learners can be assessed and complete their apprenticeships as planned.

Being a CCEP apprentice means… having the freedom and support to achieve your future goals sooner than you think.

Our thanks to Samah for the webinar, and to Sharon Blyfield too!

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For more information, please email or call 01536 513388.

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