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Apprenticeship spotlight: Michael McGurn

05 Feb

For us Apprentices are the future of our business. They’re not only our future pipeline of specialists, but also current colleagues developing themselves even further on programmes within the business. We love to shine a spotlight on our wonderful apprentices learning, earning and working on our array of 38 programmes across the Travis Perkins Group.

Here’s Michael McGurn from Toolstation

1. What first attracted you to the programme?

I was invited to take part in the Apprenticeship by my Regional Manager, John Reynolds. Although I liked the idea of the learning outcomes, it was the chance to build a more diverse support network that really drew me in.

2. How have you been supported throughout the programme and beyond?

The level of support and interest has been overwhelming. Not only from classmates within the Apprenticeship itself but from colleagues across all levels of the business. There’s a definite sense that people want you to do well in the programme and will do all they can to help you.

Thanks to my role in the Toolstation Apprenticeship, I’ve been invited to take part in a number of forums and focus groups around knowledge and wellbeing. This has helped me understand the different challenges that people face and has given me ideas on how to overcome them in my own store.

3. What’s your favourite thing about being on an Apprenticeship programme with the TP Group?

My favorite thing about being on the programme is the new sense of purpose that I feel. In the earlier days of the Covid-19 pandemic when everything was uncertain, I felt I wasn’t really making a contribution to my team or the company. I had even considered leaving as I wasn’t sure which direction I was going in.

On reflection, like many others, I was probably facing a wellbeing challenge. The initial module was a distraction from this and the warm welcome and positivity of the course Coach Tony Dawson gave me the lift that I needed.

I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to John Reynolds for signing me up to the programme and for his continued support. It would be fair to say that at the time although we recognised that this was a fantastic development opportunity, neither of us realised just how much the programme would have a positive influence on our relationship going forward. I have a new sense of respect for his role and how he empowers his managers and I now feel an enormous responsibility to do well on the course, not just for myself but for my region.

During my monthly reviews with John and the module catch ups with Tony, I always have the chance to make suggestions and ask questions, no matter how small.

Tony challenges the way I think about the job in hand and John gives me the time and space to develop these ideas by putting them into practice in a live environment.

Where things go right, I am asked to share these with managers across the region; where they go wrong, we discuss the outcomes openly and honestly and plan what to do next. This has encouraged teamwork across our region and helped us all to develop our communication skills.

The relationship with my store colleagues has also changed for the better. I appreciate the impact that effective leadership has on my team’s output.  The morale boost we feel when my team makes a difference for a customer is incredible and where this is a direct consequence of work I have done on the programme gives me a phenomenal feeling of pride.

4. How has the programme set you up for success?

The Apprenticeship has given me a new appreciation for the different personalities that make up both my store team and our customer base. It has encouraged me to be more open minded and tolerant of the different views and experiences that our colleagues have and to recognise and celebrate the unique contribution that each person makes.

It has helped me refine my leadership skills through exposing me to different ways of thinking. It has also improved my confidence in the role and empowered me to make more decisions that benefit our customers.

My improved G-suite knowledge has helped me communicate with my team better by creating more interactive ways to share information. Utilising these skills means that I am able to collaborate with colleagues in different areas of the business. Embracing this technology also means that I am able to take part in a variety of workstreams aimed at improving the way we work both within the Apprenticeship and beyond.

Working in the Apprenticeship has also helped me realise how much I enjoy supporting others’ learning and development. In November last year a colleague pointed out to me that Toolstation was looking for an Apprenticeship Coach and suggested I apply for the position. I did so and after two of the most enjoyable interviews of my life, was offered the role. A few months ago I would never have imagined that this role would have existed in our company. This is a testament to the rapid growth of our business and the company’s focus on investing in our people.

5. What has been your proudest moment since working with the Travis Perkins Group?

In response to the pandemic I wrote a poem called Toolstation Together which was shared with colleagues throughout Travis Perkins.

I wrote the poem to recognise the challenging situation we were in and to celebrate the colleagues who were leading us through it.

I received feedback that the poem had inspired people and was asked to record a version for the Toolstation Together webpage. I also received a framed copy which has pride of place in our store's break area.

6. Do you have any advice for someone thinking of enrolling on an apprenticeship?

Do it. Enroll. Enlist. Sign up!

The support is incredible, the opportunities are endless and it will change the way you think about Toolstation forever. If you are looking for a way to improve your skillset and can commit to the delivery plan, then go for it.

If you have any questions pick up a call with someone on the course and they will be happy to share their experience with you. We want to help.

Apprenticeships with Travis Perkins

If you’re passionate about learning and are ready for a challenge then we want to hear from you. Since our first apprenticeship programme in 2017, we now offer 38 programmes, half of which we deliver through our in-house specialists, mapping out a full career path for our colleagues who graduate. Explore our Apprenticeships and find out how an Apprenticeship with us will allow you to realise your full potential.

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