Job as Assistant manager

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Tracy Turner works as an assistant manager in an airport duty-free shop. The job is very much like a normal retail job, but Tracy enjoys the added excitement of the airport environment. She occasionally meets some famous people passing through the shop.

What does your job involve?

The day-to-day running of the duty-free shop and dealing with all customer and staff issues. I have to make sure that my designated area meets company standards and I am also responsible for ordering stock and stocktaking.

Do you have a typical day?

General daily tasks include stocking up – ensuring that all the shelves are full, and checking that everything we use is clean and tidy and in proper working order. Although we carry out regular stocktaking, some items do run out quickly and these have to be re-ordered as necessary.

A typical day also involves dealing with customers and as airport travellers are all different you never know what's going to happen!

What hours do you work?

I work nine-hour shifts, four days on and two days off. The times vary, from starting at 3.00 am and finishing at noon to starting at 1pm and working to 10pm.

What do you like best about your job as an assistant manager?

Every day is different. It is quite interesting to learn all the HM Customs and Excise rules and regulations so that we can inform customers if there are any problems. Also, I get to meet people from all over the world and some of them are famous!

What training have you received?

I received on-the-job training. The company organises regular training events and I have recently been on training courses for selling skills and management skills.

Are there any disadvantages to your job?

I am always on my feet and get very tired. Driving to work at three in the morning is not the best way to start the day! However, it is part of the job.

What was your route to becoming an assistant manager?

After finishing college, I applied for the position of full-time sales consultant. I then progressed to full-time supervisor. All staff had to go through an assessment centre last year and that led to my role as deputy department manager.

Why did you choose this type of work and what are your long-term career goals?

I have always been interested in the retail industry and when the opportunity came to work in an airport environment the chance was too good to miss. My aim is to continue in my role and progress within the company.

What are the skills and qualities needed to be an assistant manager?

You need to be very customer focused. This means being patient, friendly and helpful at all times. You must also be able to understand and explain in a simple way all the laws relating to the sale of duty-free goods.

Tracy's route to becoming an assistant manager

  • GCSEs.
  • GNVQ Advanced Business Studies.

Tracy's tips

  • Be prepared to work all hours including weekends and Christmas day!
  • Keep fit, as it is a physically demanding job.
  • Learn to stay calm when dealing with difficult people.

Assistant manager related jobs

  • Checkout operator
  • Customer services assistant/manager
  • Hotel receptionist
  • Store demonstrator

Salary information

  • The starting salary for sales assistants is around £10,000 a year.
  • More experienced assistants earn around £12,800.
  • Supervisors may earn up to £15,000 a year.

Becoming an assistant manager

  • There are no minimum qualifications for this career although some employers ask for at least two GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3). Some companies will set tests in basic maths and English.
  • Many stores value evidence of interest in retail, such as experience in a Saturday or holiday job. It may be possible to train on a Retail or Sales and Telesales Apprenticeship.
  • Applicants can reply to job adverts in local newspapers or Jobcentre Plus offices, or write directly to stores for details of vacancies.
  • Many stores and retail operations now have their own websites advertising vacancies and training schemes.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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