All Insights

Case Study

Smyths Toys Apprenticeships

6 March 2023

Smyths Toys Superstores are a leading provider of children’s entertainment products and trade from over 100 stores throughout the UK and Ireland. Smyths Toys superstores are bursting with fun and excitement and offer the latest and greatest range of toys, video games, outdoor, baby, and pre-school products.

Smyths Toys pride themselves in offering the most competitive prices on the best possible selection of products and stock everything from dolls and action figures to baby products, video games and playsets. As the fastest growing toy retailer in the UK, Smyths Toys recognise the importance of putting their customers first and aim to achieve this through offering the best service at the best possible prices, all served through their unique brand of fun.

Smyths know that the best way to deliver this service is through the strength of their staff. In 2018 they acquired Toys R Us in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, adding a further 90 stores across central Europe. This brings the total number of stores across Ireland, the UK and Europe to over 200.

The Challenge

The shift from a customer service role to management is a difficult one, with the challenge of transforming ways of thinking. New managers at Smyths Toys Superstores were struggling to adapt to being promoted to a leader. The change to leadership can be overwhelming.

Important aspects to tackle included:

  • Understanding KPIs
  • Effective communication
  • Conflict management
  • How to develop management thinking

The Solution

The solution to the client’s challenges was to enrol potential and future leaders onto our Level 3 and Level 5 apprenticeship programmes, allowing them to learn about effective leadership and put theories and thinking into practice with workshops and real-life scenarios. The programmes develop skills in conflict management, time management, communication, attention to detail and helps delegates grow in confidence.

  • Management of self
  • Self-awareness
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Building relationships
  • Managing people
  • Leading people
  • Project management
  • Finance
  • Operational management

The Outcome

The client has seen a positive impact from the programmes, with new leaders finding the transition to management less overwhelming and feeling more supported in their new roles. The programme has helped to develop key leadership skills, communication and behaviours, which has helped staff to feel more confident in their management roles.

Since starting the programme I’ve learned loads of skills that I never thought I would have, being able to lead a team, manage conflict and making decisions which has always been something I have struggled with.

Jack Broome, Programme Learner

Everything I have learned from the programme has been beneficial to my role, time management, decision making, leading/managing people and managing myself has had a huge impact on my attitude and the way I present myself to my team and lead them.

Jack Broome, Programme Learner

Raise the Bar do things differently by doing everything remotely. The structure of the course, and the support from the development coach are all positives, and our managers get more information on where apprentices are in regards to progress, and they know what they are working on currently. There is good communication.

Delegate’s Line Manager

Our apprentices have learnt important skills such as attention to detail, time management, communication and they have developed in confidence. They are no longer afraid to ask questions.

Delegate’s Line Manager

We have seen a positive impact on our staff retention due to the programmes. The programmes have given apprentices a pathway into leadership and covers important skills such as conflict management.

Delegate’s Line Manager