It is a productive place to work in as much as the money raised goes to help those who cannot afford the normal vet bills. Co-workers fun to work with
Arrive at warehouse / shop, unload any stock on the van from previous day. Go out and collect the charity bags that I have put out some days before, including the empty ones, left on doorsteps then deliver to whichever shop I have collected for.
Prepare the charity bags to be delivered to whatever area of Plymouth / Cornwall I have decided on and then spend the day posting them through letterboxes.
Arranging to deliver / collect any furniture or bags of items that people have donated or bought in the shop.
I have learned that you don't always get the best donations from the better areas and that you get some strange things in the charity bags. That because there are a lot of Charities doing the same thing that people are getting fed up with five or six charity bags coming through their letterbox each week and therefore they are unwilling to donate. Some people prefer animals to people and therefore will only donate to animal charities!
I have a Manager and an Assistant Manager at each of the four shops that I cover and I get on well with them all. They each have their own little ways with doing things and so you get to know what they like / dislike. I also have an Area Manager who is based in Weymouth and we have Stock Collectors meeting with the rest of the stock collectors in her area about every quarter. She also visits the shops in my area on a regular basis so I see her quite a lot. I get on well with her as well.
My co-workers, as I said in the last heading,
ProsTea and coffee are provided, but because there are a lot of volunteers, the Managers and myself usually supply the biscuits, etc.
ConsI sometimes have to work over my hours, no overtime paid, but I think that is just part of the job. The weather can be a bit of a pest, especially when its cold and wet, and I have to deliver the charity bags and then collect them when they are all wet.
I worked for PDSA for two years and it was a fantastic experience. I started for only experience in retail. My plan was to do a couple of months and leave with more knowledge. I ended up however genuinely caring about how the shop was doing and that was down to management. I felt part of a team. My typical day was working on the till, which seemed daunting when I first saw it, however after a month or so it was no problem, especially as I had no worries about asking management for help or to fix a problem. I met a whole range of customers. Some were nice, friendly and chatted. Others were grumpy and would complain about anything that they could find. Some said nothing at all. I found it all fun to deal with. The customers made the day less boring when it seemed I had little to do. I learned a lot from learning how to use the till, customer service, to hanging clothes. It helped my confidence no ends.
The management is fantastic. The manager and assistant manger are very different with their approaches and both in a good way. They work well as a team and therefore make the running of things easy. If I had any trouble, I could ask either and it was sorted. I couldn't have asked for better management.
The majority of people that work there are great. There is a huge selection of characters. There were so many great people I worked with and that was only two days out of the week. Of course things may have changed by now and of course there is always the odd person. I found so
ProsLearn new skills. Friendly people. Good Atmosphere. Certain costumers.
While this job may be rewarding at times it must be understood that working night shift for the PDSA you will either be working alone or with an entirely different team meaning that communication with your PDSA colleagues/management can be difficult.
Furthermore, there are no opportunities for progression in an Out of Hours post and due to the nature of the job you will consistently encounter unpleasant people that will abuse the charities kindness and services; there will be very little enforcement of rules and regulations made by the organisation and the policies are filled with loopholes allowing abuse of the system, this in turn makes an independent, lone working, out of hours role incredibly difficult as you have no managerial support while on shift and when support is requested it is often not upheld.
Moreover, due to the PDSA being a non government funded charity they rely solely on support from the general public. While this may be admirable it does in turn make the organisation very afraid of bad publicity. This, and the presence of GDPR, means that welfare/abuse cases will often go unresolved.
You also do not get typical Annual Leave/Holiday; I would best describe what you get not as Annual Leave but instead as "convoluted shift swaps".
You may be requested to attend unpaid staff meetings on your days off work simply in order to communicate as a team due to the fact that in an out of hours role there is no way to have a "staff meeting" as you are the only PDSA staff
Endless, unsatisfying, tiring, dirty, stressful, badly organised. If you care about animals, just don't bother.
If you relish conflicts, arguing with hagglers and shoplifters, debating endlessly about prices, sorting hoards of donations that should really have gone to the rubbish tip, supporting volunteers, checking illiterate bossy emails from upper management, doing shop banking, checking safety procedures and doing admin *all at the same time*, then this role is for you.
Your input from upper management takes the form of 'sales rally calls'; badly written emails and newsletters placing blame for poor sales squarely on the already overworked shop managers. This sales rallying is backed up by accusatory phone calls, taking you away from all your main duties. Sometimes you will be given a pep-talk if times get tougher than usual.
You will be warned about shoplifters, but don't ever expect to be supported by security devices such as mirrors or even dummy-CCTV. Each shop is left to be run at the discretion of each shop manager, which means 'local arrangements' galore, adding to the chaos when shop managers look after shops in different locales for each other.
You will be expected to donate your time with minimal recognition, since your contracted hours only cover shop opening times minus an hour for break/s, but lots and lots of work is needed out-of-hours to keep the shop running. Your rota for the days you will work will remain a mystery until a day or two before the new
I work here as a volunteer. When you volunteer, you may not get paid, but you do get a little more choice in your hours. The minimum is four consecutive hours per week... which is really not that difficult to manage even if you haven't worked before.
If still in high school, you can probably ask for Saturday shifts or even Friday after school, if you live close enough to the town centre. If out of school, there should be shifts between 9 AM and 5 PM that you can do on some day(s) during the week, except Sunday, when the shop is closed.
There is plenty of experience to be gained through stock processing, working with the cash register and helping the customers out, and if you need to build your confidence and communication skills, starting in a small shop like the PDSA is a good idea.
The manager(s) and colleagues are friendly and understanding, so they should be able to help you get used to working in a shop fast enough.
As long as you do your job properly, listen to the manager and help your colleagues whenever you can, you'll do well. It's also a good way to get job references and if you work hard, you are sure to be recommended for any paid jobs you apply for in the future.
The most enjoyable part of the job... well, that depends on the person. A sociable person would say that it would be the people, which, by the way, are great and very fun to work with. A person who seeks to help animals can find a job that requires less qualifications but still helps
Interesting and Fun Workplace - Great Start to Working.
This was my first serious job, and I am thankful and grateful for that opportunity. This job was not too hard yet not too easy, a perfect balance and you had the freedom to find comfort in the workplace.
The typical day consisted of assisting customers, going behind the work-floor and into quality control and product cleaning/selection, taking in the donations and sorting through them to find items to sell and items to donate to africa, entertaining both the workers and customers was always a must for me and others and created a wonderful and fun environment. I learnt many things: How to find a sellable item, how to pick up donations, how to drop off the donations to Africa, how to clean clothes with an industrial clothes steamer, how to calculate prices, how to work a cash register, how to communicate with customers (Customer Service Skills), etc,etc. The management was open-minded and disciplined to the perfect level. No matter who it was I had a task and was comfortable doing it. If I was uncomfortable, they always had a reasonable alternative and minded carefully of my health and wellbeing. The Co-workers were equally as open-minded and took care to ensure that I was working to my full potential. The hardest part of the job, personally, was working through illness. I am often ill, but I fight through it. The most enjoyable part is hard to choose, but I must say it has to be meeting all the new people, co-workers and customers, and finding a purpose and place to be and be
ProsFun Environment, many easy places to catch a break if needed, meeting new people
ConsWorkplace can be a bit too warm/stuffy/confined if you feel ill as I did often, however there is a balcony to catch fresh air.
I can only speak from the retail side of things, but after over 6 years with this company I can say that I believe it no longer supports its staff adequately. Frequent changes in area and regional management leaves shop management teams without direction and unity. Changes in procedure are frequent and not followed through universally leaving some following the rules and seemingly penalised for it with shop closures and budget restrictions making it difficult to achieve. Originally I felt passion for this job, but this has dwindled over time and if it weren't for the volunteers that work (mostly) tirelessly to support the shop and its staff then my opinion of the business would have more rapidly declined. As with any job there are highs and lows, but I have lost any faith I had in this company that cannot seem to retain its senior retail staff for any length of time. I've watched numerous long term successful employees part ways with the business and this only seems to be increasing in recent months. Those that are any good move on if they have any sense, and time and time again I see people employed that just do not seem to understand that charity retail does not face the same struggles as standard commercial retail. This company does not allow for career progression or development as far as I can tell.
From a shop point of view, it is a good place to volunteer as long as it is only retail experience or a social aspect that is sought.
ProsRewarding working with volunteers and for a charitable cause
I only worked here for two days a week and then went down to one because of school however a typical day at work would consist of many different tasks, this included stock replenishment, till operating and general cleanliness of the store. during my time here i learned how to be confident around the public and how to talk to customers and i also learned how to keep a shop tidy in order to know where everything is and give the customers a better shopping experience. The management at the store was brilliant, not only was they your manager but they also because a friend, someone that you could talk to whilst you was working as well as knowing what your doing right in your time at work. The co-workers all become a big group of friends as all of you are there for the same reason, no one in the job had a paid role, everyone was a volunteer and the majority of them was there because they wanted to be which made it a better environment to work in. the hardest part of the job was the first day, it was like the first day of school, being shy and not knowing anyone however after a few hours i quickly settled in and made some great friends. all if the work i done here was enjoyable but i found that working closely with other customers and being able to work individually or in a team was the most enjoyable thing about the job.
Prosconfidence gained, meeting others, working closely with public
An enjoyable first job for work experience, nothing that was overly demanding. Every member of the team was treated equally and there were always small jobs that required continuous focus, such as cleaning or aiding customers which helped development with communication skills on a steady basis. Managing various small jobs at one time was challenging but capable for the most part as this also required communication skills between colleagues to complete tasks at the time in order to keep the shop up to working order. Colleagues were very kind to each other which helped in the long run to aid each other in completing jobs as well as making communication between each other easier as well. The hardest part of the job was keeping up with large queues of customers when on till duty as these tills did not use scanning equipment much to purchase items but rather through manual selections on a screen which sometimes lagged. However the easiest part of job was the flexibility of hours as this was only a voluntary role which did not have any fixed hours however, I did stick to my initial hours very strictly in order to get used to the working world.
ProsWork Experience, friendly staff, very flexible hours
Great place to work for.. but the managment could be a bit inconsistant.
I used to volunteer my weekends at PDSA and found it to be an often enjoyable, and rewarding job. The team were mostly hard working and the atmosphere was laid back. That wa suntill they started to take volunteers from the Job centre. After this the work environment was extremely hard to work in. Without going into too much detail, each week there would be another drama. Whether it be volunteers stealing or some men getting a bit pushy with some of the younger volunteers. They were quickly thrown out but it did make you wonder what was going to happen day in day out. While most of the managers were extremely supportive and would give you direction, creative criticism, some just wanted to sit in the office drinking coffee and taking their pick of the donations. Two bosses were fired for taking their pick of donations without putting too much into the till.. if you get my meaning.
All of this said, it wouldn't the companies fault however i would suggest that they do more background checks on their paid staff and some of their volunteers.
ProsFun enviroment, hard working team.
Conshands off managment, not enough background checks on volunteers.
Questions and answers about PDSA
What should you wear to an interview at PDSA?
Asked 3 Feb 2018
Smart clothes and sensible footwear
Answered 14 Jan 2019
Smart business wear
Answered 13 Dec 2018
How did you feel about telling people you worked at PDSA?
Asked 26 Nov 2017
When working in their pet hospital's initially, proud.
However, after working alongside and with other veterinary practices I wanted to try and keep it quiet after seeing their reputation and standing from outsiders perspectives. I eventually became ashamed to say I worked for them.
Answered 25 Mar 2021
At the start i was proud then i was embarressed and upset
Answered 9 Oct 2019
How does someone get hired at PDSA? What are the steps along the way?
Asked 25 May 2017
Charity experience is what puts you forward.
Answered 15 Jan 2021
Go into the shop and speak to the Manager.
Answered 14 Jul 2019
What is the interview process like?
Asked 22 Apr 2017
I just had my interview a few days ago with PDSA (I will find out if I get the job or not by tomorrow or Monday) and I found they make you feel very comfortable they are very friendly and very professional :) they also give you positive feedback during the interview as to why they invited you to interview in the first place
Answered 30 Jan 2020
15 minute rushed telephone interview
Answered 19 Jun 2019
What is the work environment and culture like at PDSA?
Asked 15 Oct 2018
In their veterinary hospitals, if you're able to fit into their clique you're fine. Otherwise, you will rarely be acknowledged. It's often an environment which will feel clustered and a place where stress grows exponentially once one colleague is under pressure; however, the job will get done, at some point.
Answered 25 Mar 2021
Plymouth - Would not advise people to join the Plymouth shop unless they enjoy working on one task every day. Manager can be quite rude.