B6 Students Visit Asda HQ for Workplace Safari

Christine Baldwin, ASDA Community Champion and Enterprise Adviser and B6 Students Visit Asda HQ

A group of first- and second-year students attended a workplace safari to ASDA head office in Leeds to learn more about their degree apprenticeship and graduate employment opportunities.  There is so much that goes on behind the scenes within such a big retailer and students learned the 'hidden careers' that are vital to ensure that a supermarket can continue to operate at ground-level.  Matt Dunhill, Supply Chain Manager talked the food chain from farm to factory and then from supermarket shelf to the consumer's shopping basket. He asked students to consider what factors influence high sales of supermarket staples such as beans, including the price, the time of year, marketing campaigns and availability of stock. Careers within supply chain are varied and include roles within Demand planning, Logistics Collaboration Analysis.

Andrew Johnson then spoke about his journey from professional chef to working in product development with ASDA  via a degree apprenticeship in product technology. In his role at ASDA, Andrew looks at trends in terms of food and takes these insights and uses them to develop new products which will sell well within the store. Roles in product development can include product testing, product technology and product trading and procurement.

Next up was Amy Handley who works in marketing and has been involved in ASDA's Christmas advertising campaign which feature Michael Buble.  Amy studied A levels in Media, History and Art at sixth form and then completed a degree in Film and Television studies, before embarking on her career in marketing. Amy got students to take part in a 'Guess the Product' game by showing them logos from a number of well-known brands that we come across in our day-to-day lives.

Suzann Ross works in Data Analytics and explained that ASDA use Data in all elements of their business, stating that data informs all that ASDA do as a company.  Suzanne got into Data analytics following a degree in Chemistry and Forensic Science at university and shared graphs with students whereby there were peaks in sales at different times of year.  Based on the data and the date of the graphs, students had to guess what product they thought the graphs were about, for example a rise in sales of flowers in March, due to Mother's day and a surge in the sales of vegan food in 'Veganuary'.  Suzanne mentioned a number of carers in data analytics such as Data Architects. Insight Analysts and Space planners who plan the best layout across ASDA shop-floors.

During the students got a tour of the 'mock supermarket' within ASDA's merchandising centre, where staff consider visual merchandising and the best layout to achieve the highest sales with real ASDA supermarkets.  This tour was followed by a mock assessment centre task, typically used by ASDA during their apprenticeship and graduate recruitment process.  The task that students had to work on was planning a 55th anniversary celebration for a fictional new town. Students had to imagine that they worked for a fictional supermarket as a trainee and that they had been tasked with working with a team of other trainees to help organise this celebration event. Students had a number of events set at varying budgets to choose from and had to agree as a team on which event to go for and why. Students had to then pitch their reasons for choosing this event an the costs involved to a panel of ASDA head office staff.  This activity gave students a great insight into what a real assessment centre experience would look like and also helped them develop key skills such as team work, leadership, negotiation, communication and public speaking.

A huge thank you to everyone involved the day. This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn more about the myriad of career possibilities available in one of Britain's leading retailers.

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