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Monday, 23 July 2012

A proud moment - recieving my NVQ certificate.

On Wednesday 11th July my friend and work colleague Rebecca and I were chauffeured from Nottingham to Sheffield to receive and be presented with our NVQ awards. The award for myself was in the area of Meat and Fish and Rebecca’s was for the Delicatessen on Tesco’s counters. We had both put a tremendous amount of work into the awards (the equivalent of five GSCE’s A -C) and were proud to be finally getting the certificates at the Celebrate Success award ceremony at the Sheffield United football ground at Bramall Lane. There were over two hundred other recipients from across the country also receiving their certificates and well deserved praise for efforts.

We all enjoyed a welcome glass of champagne or fresh orange juice and a meal before the award ceremony itself. Prior to the meal people were invited to look around the football ground if they chose. Having a distinct lack of interest in football I said to Rebecca “Oh look, some grass and some seats.”

Everyone had dressed up to look good for the event and I got my dicky out  and it looked well with my new shirt and smart trousers and jacket. Rebecca looked very smart too in her ensemble. We noticed that there were a lot of recipients in a similar age group to us which was very gratifying. The food was nice, a rich tomato soup followed by roast chicken breast and vegetables and a chocolate dessert.

After lunch, followed the award ceremony itself. Each Tesco store’s winners were announced and had to go up to the platform to receive their certificate and have a photo taken, all to great applause. Our table was the furthest table away from the platform so we got the longest applause. Yay!

Tesco offer the Level Two City and Guilds qualifications in Replenishment, Service, Fish and Meat, Bakery and Delicatessen Counters and ‘The Apprenticeship’ in Retail is made up of three parts:

Knowledge Workbooks and Competence and Observation exercises.

Key Skills in Maths and English provided by an external provider

Technical Certificate in Retail Knowledge.

The knowledge workbooks were research and written projects based on Teamwork, Counter and Customer Perception, Maintaining Food Safety and Food Law, Stock procedures, Promotion procedures, Meat and Fish counters daily practices, Processing Fish and Shellfish for sale. All of the afore-mentioned had to be supported by extra documentation gathered by the ‘apprentice’. The Delicatessen module was very similar in construction.

As part of our experience we each had to do a ‘presentation’,  towards the end of the process, and Rebecca did an excellent in depth, twenty minute presentation about the history and processing of the  Galbani  company’s Dolcelatte cheese along with some lovely samples. We learnt that Dolce means "sweet" in Italian. Dolcelatte is a blue veined Italian soft cheese made from cow's milk that tastes sweet, sometimes called Gorgonzola Dolce.Rebecca is very knowledgeable about cheese and made the presentation very interesting and extremely tasty!

For my presentation I presented a book of meat and fish knowledge referencing my counters I work on, that I had photographed, written and complied myself and still have to educate myself and others on the cuts and high standards of presentation. From doing this I learnt a lot more about the fish and shellfish side of my work.

The Key Skills in Maths and English monthly sessions I did find a bit frustrating due to personal worries about my lack of skills in the maths area. But as the months went on I got a little more confidence in the maths element and was relieved to hear that I had passed after the final exams.

All in all, the City and Guilds Level Two qualification was well worth doing and helped me to learn more about the food retail world and to document my own knowledge and add to my twenty years worth of meat trade knowledge and practice. The practical elements of doing the qualification at work were occasionally a challenge for Rebecca and myself but I felt humbled at the Celebrate Success Awards by hearing stories of other folk from Tesco who had completed the programme and had to work alongside very tough personal challenges. An example would be the lady whose husband had been diagnosed with cancer during her learning period and she still struggled on even throughout his illness and eventual death and felt greatly supported by her workmates and manager. For two others who spoke emotionally and publicly about the process of doing the apprenticeship their experience was often compounded with a feeling of pride in the confidence building aspect of the work and the support they got. Both said that initially their confidence in learning was rock bottom one even saying to her manager “I can’t do that. I’m not clever enough.” And by gaining some support and self belief they both passed. Very well done to them and also to us.


Christopher Frost said...

Well done Phil on your achievement.

Glad you had a good time in Sheffield, even if was at a football ground.

What next, a management degree. After all, you'll need another reason to wear your cheeky bow tie!

Phil Lowe said...

Thankyou Christopher. Management degree? No ta. Language degree? Maybe, Peut-etre, Vielleicht.

Peter said...

Hi Phil

Very well done. I am always impressed with the effort you put in, and the pride you take in your job. I hope your boss appreciates you!

You should pop down to my local Morrisons and sort their fish counter out - it's rubbish!



Karen said...

Many congratulations. You & Rebecca look very smart (I love your bowtie).