Because of the Statute of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the reciprocity between Canada and the UK, dependants (spouses, children) of Canadian Armed Forces members are eligible to receive work visas for the duration of their overseas posting.
If dependents wish to get a job in the UK they must apply for a National Insurance Number, the equivalent to Canada’s Social Insurance Number. It is a straightforward process. I applied for my own number and my son obtained his number as well.
I applied for a few jobs in the local area and I registered with a couple of temp. agencies. I also applied for a job as a cashier/clerk at the Innsworth Special Store, a little duty-free shop at Imjin Barracks in Innsworth. The shop is administered by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services and offers duty-free products to foreign military personnel serving with NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC).
I am happy to announce that this is my one-year anniversary of working at the Innsworth Special Store. Being a cashier/clerk at this store is one of the most fun jobs EVER because I’m able to apply a wide base of knowledge.
I am able to apply all of the experience I gained when I was running my own business. We think about brand management, financial statements, and customer engagement and satisfaction. My chain of command is a filled with really cool people; open to new ideas and different ways of doing things. We listen to each other. We discuss options. My bosses clearly explain why certain things must be done a certain way but they are also willing to take new ideas up the chain of command if they feel those ideas are in the best interest of the business. It is really an entrepreneurial environment.
Organizing & Productivity
The store has only been operating for two years. This means I have had the chance to organize and implement procedures to increase productivity. From ordering product to final sale, we’ve been simplifying and streamlining. I’ve had the opportunity to write standard operating procedures and establish a records management system for both paper and electronic records.
Strict laws laid out by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) mean that only entitled persons assigned to one of the authorized NATO delegations at the ARRC are permitted to purchase duty-free alcohol or tobacco goods from the Innsworth Special Store. Additionally, entitled persons must adhere to their ration limits.
Because of the HMRC regulations, we have a finite number of customers. We get to know them and their families. We can tailor our line of products and our communications to ensure our customers are satisfied. Every few months some people are posted out and new people arrive. It is hard to say good-bye to our customers but already I’ve received invitations to visit Greece, Italy and France.
Learning New Things
We sell wine, beer, spirits, tobacco products and fragrances. I have to know about all of these products to make recommendations to customers. I am enjoying researching about how all of these products are made, learning how brands differ from one another and doing personal testing of many of the products too!
This is a GREAT job and I’m really lucky!
P.S. For the past year I have also been privileged to write about organizing and productivity with a great team of people at Unclutterer.com!