A day in the life of Olivia Sharkey, Buying Assistant Apprentice at F&F Clothing, Tesco

“I knew I didn’t want to go to university, but knew I wanted to gain work experience within the fashion industry and wanted to earn money doing this.”

Olivia Sharkey is currently working for Tesco as a Buying Assistant Apprentice within their F&F Clothing department. Olivia tells us about her apprenticeship experience so far and what she enjoys most about her role. Find out more about Tesco’s apprenticeship opportunities at Skills London!

What is your current role and how long have you been working with Tesco?

I’m a Buying Assistant in Ladies Jersey, and I’ve been working here for just over a year now, so just starting my second year of my apprenticeship.

What was it that initially attracted you to the F&F Clothing apprenticeship?

I knew I didn’t want to go to university, but knew I wanted to gain work experience within the fashion industry and wanted to earn money doing this. I really loved that this apprenticeship gave you the opportunity to experience both merchandising and buying, I’ve not seen another retailer that offers this.

Tell us about a typical week in your job.

At the beginning of the week, as a team we look at how we traded the week before, what sold well and what didn’t sell so well. We look at the products visually which I find really interesting and helpful because it makes you more familiar with your products.

Our suppliers send in different material swatches, I then get to select which fabric we want to use and approve. Working with our suppliers and being given the responsibility to do this has enabled me to learn so much about the process of how our clothes are made.

My favourite part of the job are the fit sessions with the models, this is a more technical part of my role. Our models try on the different pieces of clothing and we evaluate how the product looks, fits and feels. It’s great because I get to add value!

How would you describe your team and the people you work with?

My team is really inclusive. We are quite a social team, we go out after work and go to lunch together. My manager and my team are really accommodating to my apprenticeship.

What’s been your favourite highlight since starting with Tesco?

I love the Apprenticeship Learning Days! They give you the opportunity to socialise with other apprentices from around the business and we get to hear from our leaders. With not going to university I thought I would lose out on having another group of friends, but I’ve met some great people and they will be life-long friends.

What is the best piece of advice youve had since starting your apprenticeship?

Take every opportunity.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?

Do it! You get the experience of working in merchandising and buying which is rare and the opportunities are endless. You get to meet so many different people, it’s not hierarchical, it’s a really inclusive environment and everyone is treated the same.

In one word, describe your experience so far.