Buying and Merchandising Apprentice – UK Retail OHL

Learn more about Gavinder's experience as an Apprentice at Amazon

Gavinder - Apprentice 2

What is your role at Amazon?

I am a buying & merchandising Apprentice, working for the EU Video Games team at Amazon Retail

What is a typical day at work like for you? Give us example of what new things you have been introduced to whilst working at Amazon?

In my short time at Amazon, my typical day at work has been fast moving, with a lot of variety. Some days my focus is on Amazon specific training, learning the unique ways of the Amazon, knowledge of systems and processes. On other days I am shadowing and supporting colleagues; taking on analysis tasks, identifying opportunities for improvement in the retail performance, and joining meetings with vendors.

I have been introduced to so many new things and concepts with my on the job training; developing the skills needed in the roles of vendor managers & brand specialists, including understanding what drives traffic, customer engagement, what drives sales, where to maximise profits and minimise risk. The depth and breadth of the work involved has exceeded my expectations prior to joining Amazon; including understanding profit & loss, supply chains, marketing, customer profiling and much more.

How do you feel Amazon enables you to balance work and study whilst completing your Apprenticeship?

Amazon, and in particular my team & manager have been really good in supporting my studying. They have been happy for to manage my time and allocate study focused hours during the week. On top of that, colleagues have always been willing to help with real life examples and experiences to assist with my course assignments and understanding of subjects following Apprenticeship workshops

What attracted you to Amazon?

The broader attraction was Amazon as an organisation-one of the great business success stories of the past 30 years, and the opportunity to join such an organisation. I was then particularly impressed that they openly presented opportunities for someone seeking a career change-like myself. So many other employers focus on either graduates/school leavers or experienced professionals. It was refreshing to see an organisation think about, and be willing to invest in the many in the middle; with work experience, but seeking a new direction.


How do you feel this Apprenticeship will be beneficial to your career progression?

Within my team at Amazon, I have a number of colleagues who provide real examples of career progression-both in their development during employment at Amazon, or from where they were prior to joining. By learning from them it is helping me develop new skills and confidence that I believe will be beneficial in my future progression.

I have picked up more new skills and learnt more in a few weeks at Amazon than I did in many years during my prior career. On top of that, the Apprenticeship workshops and assignments are allowing me to develop relevant skills beyond Amazon, by learning how other organisations tackle the buying & merchandising functions.

Do you feel like direct industry experience has been beneficial to your learning?

Direct industry experience has accelerated my learning. I am someone who learns best by putting theory into practice. The Apprenticeship workshops & assignments have provided a strong foundation to understand buying & merchandising across the industry.

But from shadowing colleagues at Amazon, and taking on more and more tasks for Amazon, I am able to see how things work in practice, add context to the concepts and help those concepts sink in. Without that opportunity of direct industry experience, I know my learning and development would be a much slower process.

Has the learning on Apprenticeship change your approach to work?

It has made me more curious in general; to approach every task and every day at work as an opportunity to learn and develop. In my prior career I hit a plateau where I was often working in robot mode.

But since starting the Apprenticeship I am enjoying the opportunity to have the learning curve steep and to be able to track my own progress against the contribution I make at Amazon becoming larger & larger.