The Real Apprenticeship Company is delighted to have partnered Magnet in the delivery of its first advanced apprenticeship in Retail. The programme was developed as a proof of concept and piloted in the North and East of England. The Real Apprenticeship Company looks forward to supporting Magnet in the development of its next phase of its apprenticeship strategy. "Congratulations to all the MAP graduates."


In September 2015, the Magnet Store network started an Apprenticeship Programme to pilot this approach and to identify if we could not only support young people getting into work, but also to create our long-term pipeline for growing our own Talent.

Lisa Wright (HR Director for Nobia UK) says “We knew we had a challenge when it came to fighting the “war for talent” and this Apprenticeship Programme was part of a new approach in our Talent Acquisition strategy. We wanted to grow our own highly skilled colleagues who have the potential to become our Store Managers of the future. We invested heavily in this route and programme to bring us longer term benefits.”

The group spent 18 months covering various Store roles, this included 3 months in the Warehouse, 4 months on the Trade counter, before moving into Retail to learn the Design Sales Assistant role for 6 months, before spending the last 5 months as a Retail Designer. Alongside learning all the job roles, they have completed all 30 Knowledge Modules and all achieved their Advanced Level Retail Apprenticeship Qualification too.

We wanted to find out more about how the programme had been for them, so here are a few snippets:

What have you enjoyed about doing this programme:

Molly East (from Lincoln) said “I have really enjoyed the entire programme. There has been so much support from everyone and you could see how much everyone within the team wanted us to be successful, if you ever got stuck there was always someone to help only a call away. Meeting all the other Apprentices every other month was a massive help for me, to be able to talk through things and have support – I don’t know what I would have done without it. I am so lucky to have had this opportunity to work with all the people I have throughout this apprenticeship, everyone has been amazing.”

Annalee Hills (from Hadleigh) said “I have really enjoyed working on each job role as it’s given me a really good idea of what everyone does in store. I feel I can really help the team as a whole which is a great feeling”

Emma Stratton (from Bury St Edmunds) said” Meeting my fellow Apprentice’s and sharing the experience together has been a real highlight. We have been able to grow together and help each other along each stage with constant support from the Apprenticeship Team, the Darlington team and our stores.”

Alex Meade (from Bedford, now Hitchin) said “I have enjoyed so much about it. I loved learning about different parts of the company and all the experiences that came with it, for example driving a fork lift truck and using Design software”.


Was the Apprenticeship anything like you expected it to be?

Emma said “I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never even been to a kitchen showroom before. But I knew I wanted to stay in Education and gain further qualifications and this seemed like the perfect opportunity and it was! The Magnet Apprenticeship Programme has exceeded any expectations I could of had. The guidance, the experience, the attention given to the programme and group workshops in Darlington not only allowed us to work better as a team, but gave us insight into the company in all aspects that has benefited us in so many ways.”

Jordan Kelly (from Hitchin) said “I didn’t expect to learn quite as much during this and am really happy it exceeded my expectations. I also didn’t expect as much support as we were actually given.”

Kanune Morrissey (from Leicester) said, “I didn’t really have any expectations initially, I thought I would just observe operations and try and practice them from what I had seen. At first it wasn’t easy being in a mature working environment, but with perseverance, support from my colleagues and Apprenticeship team, I managed to find my place and become a valued member of the team.”

Alex said “It has been much better than I thought it would have been. It has massively exceeded my expectations. I didn’t realise I would learn so much and meet so many great people. I think that this apprenticeship has been incredibly beneficial and an opportunity I am so glad I was part of. Also, all of the training we received has been amazing and helpful which has come in so handy over the last 18 months.”


What has doing this Apprenticeship meant to your longer-term plans?

Annalee said “This has opened up a whole world of possibilities in terms of job roles I can go into, whether it is on the fork lift or the design station. I have had a taste of each role which has helped me to discover the paths I want to take in the future.”

Emma said “The programme has given me life-long skills and experience to take with me wherever I choose to venture. It has given me the opportunity to excel in a career with Magnet, now as a Kitchen Designer and in the future with possible positions and endless development.”

Jordan said “It has given me a lot of experience and life skills. Having started this programme when I was 17 and leaving it at 19, I have changed and grown as a person. Being an Apprentice at Magnet has really made my confidence grow.”

Molly said “Most people struggle to find a job they really enjoy doing. Luckily for me I have had this opportunity with Magnet and I now have a career in something I can enjoy doing and see myself doing for the rest of my life.”

Alex said “in the longer term, I think this apprenticeship has put me in a good position in order for me to develop my career. It has taught me a lot of life skills as well as provided me with additional qualifications and experience.”

Neil Hedderick, who is the Regional Director for Magnet in the East Region backed this pilot from the outset and really believed in the opportunities this could offer:  “I am delighted with the value these young people have added to our stores, they have really taken this programme seriously and learnt so much about the Magnet business and spent time in many different key roles. At the very beginning, we were not sure initially if this pilot programme we created would be too tough. However, 18 months later, I am so proud to have been able to reward all 9 Apprentice’s hard work with job offers in my stores and I am looking forward to working with them all in the years to come!”

Lisa Gritton, Head of Talent & Development (UK) confirmed their progress “All 9 Apprentices have completed their formal qualification and it was a pretty tough ask! We hoped we would unearth some talent during this programme, but the group have exceeded our expectations. Their commitment, enthusiasm and desire to learn/challenge and push forward has been inspiring. We have also been very thankful that our store colleagues, Managers and support teams have worked so hard to ensure this programme has been a success. We are over the moon that all 9 Apprentices have secured long term employment with us and are really looking forward to watching their careers develop.”

Our 9 Apprentices who deserve all the credit and next week move to their permanent job roles are:

- Alex Meade who trained in Bedford, is now a Trainee Kitchen Sales Designer in Hitchin

- Emma Stratton is now a Trainee Kitchen Sales Designer in Bury St Edmunds 

- Dan Mitchell is now a Trainee Kitchen Sales Designer in Derby

- Molly East is now a Trainee Kitchen Sales Designer in Lincoln

- Xanthe Graceson is now a Trainee Kitchen Sales Designer in Watford

- Annalee Hills is now a Design Sales Assistant in Hadleigh

- Zak Zammouri is now a Trade Salesperson in Hemel Hempstead

- Jordan Kelly is now a Design Sales Assistant in Hitchin

- Kanune Morrissey is now a Design Sales Assistant in Leicester


This programme has been so successful that we will start a new intake of Apprentice in our Magnet stores towards the end of this year.