There is no better way to get the inside scoop on a job opportunity than from the people who already work in the job every day.
As a Blue Arrow candidate working for a well-known household brand like the Co-op is an exciting prospect, full of opportunities and future prospects, but before you jump into any job application it is important to do thorough research and make sure that the role is a good fit for you.
First-hand honest testimonials from existing staff will give you the best insight into what it is really like to be a Co-op colleague. You need to know the good bits and the not so good bits about a job to be able to make an informed decision, so we invited Carole, one of our candidates who was successfully placed into a Co-op Warehouse Operative role to talk to us about her experience.
Where do you currently work?
I currently work for Co-op in the Birtley depot as a Warehouse Operative.
How long have you worked there?
I have been there for two years working full time on the afternoon shift.
What pushed you to apply for this role?
I used to work in retail on the shop floor and I was looking for something different. This seemed like a good challenge and an excellent opportunity to see the other side of retail.
What was the application process like?
It was good, I got an interview at Blue Arrow in Newcastle then I went to meet the Co-op team. They really made me feel welcome and comfortable. I had an induction at the Co-op warehouse and had a look around. My eyes really opened up to how big the warehouse was, going from a shop to a warehouse that size was daunting at first, but I was made to feel really welcome and like I could be great for the job.
What does your typical day look like?
I sign and clock in, then I go to get the lollop (mini forklift) that I use for picking groceries from the shelves. Then I collect my headset and talkman. The headset will ask what area I am picking in, and I say “chilled”. The headset will then give me a job to do, which usually starts with a destination aisle number. Once I have reached my destination, I will tell the headset a digit number and it tells me how many items to pick. I collect the items and put them in the cages, then I marshal the cages into a lane so the loaders can put them into the lorries. I let the headset know when I have completed the task and it gives me another destination aisle number. My day continues like that repeating the process.
The headset tells you everything you need to know including how much time it predicts it should take for me to pick 3 full cages and our targets are based on achieving a percentage of this estimated time. If we are working within this percentage, we get an extra break during the shift.
I am a Lead Associate too so I help the other team members, sorting any problems they may have and making sure everyone is ok.
Do you find you can meet the targets quite easily?
I struggled to meet the targets at first, it took me a few months to get the hang of it but now it’s ok. The managers are really supportive and encouraging and even when I wasn’t hitting the targets they were really happy that I was making an effort to improve.
Was the technology easy to learn?
Yes, it is quite easy, once you have done the voice recognition set up it works really well. The voice software tells you everything you need to know. It can take a little bit of getting used to if you are new because even though it tells you where to go you still need to find your way around but there are plenty of people there to help.
What are your team members like?
They are great, we have lots of different age groups and we all get along very well. We do our job and still have fun and have a laugh, having such as great team really makes your day.
What are the best bits about being a Warehouse Operative with Co-op?
I love going in to work, the whole working day is good.
What are the worst bits?
The only thing would be when you wait for items to be replenished before you can pick them. It can affect your time and target but the truck drivers are really busy too, so you just have to be patient and work together so everyone gets their work done.
What advice would you give to someone new to the role?
Make the most of the training. Pick a good lollop, you don’t want a slow one and make sure you are wrapped up and prepared for a chilled environment. If you end up in ambient you can always take layers off.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying?
Give it a go, Co-op will do everything they can to make sure you are prepared and happy. They will take the time to retrain you if needed so don’t worry about being new to the job. I have enjoyed it for the last two years and if I can do it, anyone can.
To find out more about what it would be like to work at Co-op, click on over to our dedicated working with Co-op page.
Choosing the right role for you is important, so be sure to take the time to read through the Co-op Warehouse Operative Job Description and check that there is a Co-op location within travelling distance from your home on our Co-op location pages.