10 December, 2015

Hannah is in the driving seat of her career development

Hannah applied to our school leaver scheme when she was just 21. In April of this year she became a Commercial Manager in the Sutton Coldfield Store and subsequently, since August, she’s been the Food Commercial Manager in Pontardulais Road. Her journey through M&S has been an exciting one and she talks of it fondly.

“First of all the training scheme attracted me, because it's a brilliant scheme to join. I'd never worked in retail before, and I had a few friends who'd worked for M&S and recommended the programme. I've always wanted to work in retail, and obviously M&S is a very reputable company. I really like the brand and what the company stands for.”

Whilst she was in school Hannah never intended to go to university. Her later decision to apply to one was mostly due to the fact that most of her friends were doing it. But thankfully, when the opportunity to start her career in retail with one of the UK’s most beloved brands appeared, it was too good to pass up.

“It was quite an interesting application process. The assessment centre really started to open my eyes in terms of what my job would be like. It was challenging but in a good way because it makes you think outside the box and puts you in scenarios which you might never have been in before. It’s a good way to test yourself.”

“The best thing is how much you can learn. The thing with the programme is that you get out what you put into it. You really have to take charge of your own development and drive it. It's a really great starting block for a promising career.”

“I think the most valuable skill that I've learnt is reflection. Throughout the process I think I've grown a huge amount, and that's down to me having the time to reflect on my performance. What's really good about the programme is they teach you to play to your strengths and when you're conducting a personal development plan, which you review on a frequent basis, you actually start that plan with what you’re good at and not what your weaknesses are.”

To Hannah, the M&S brand values have been more than just guidelines to a good career life. They’ve been a good compass through her personal life as well.

“I try to think, ‘Am I actually representing these four brand values?’. I think it's really easy to actually apply them to the day-to-day jobs that you do. They certainly influence me outside of work, and my personal life as well. I think it's opened my mind a lot more to what type of person I am outside of work; how I come across. I think they've definitely shaped me.”

Finally, we asked if she would recommend the programme to others.

“I would recommend the scheme to anyone who wants to start their career in retail. I think as long as you've got determination, you should apply as soon as you get your A-Levels. I think it is just having those basics; being determined, wanting to kick-start your career and work in a fast-paced environment.”

“I think the biggest piece of advice I would give is to really drive your own development. You have to take charge of it and you have to be the one that really pushes yourself.”

Do you think you've got what it takes to join Hannah? Find out more about our school leaver scheme here.

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