24 February, 2017

How Jake engineered the career he wanted

You might think it a bit odd to see the words ‘retail’ and ‘engineering’ in the same sentence. But behind our network of high street stores and our hugely popular website lies our Castle Donington Distribution Centre in Derbyshire.

It’s 900,000 sq. ft. of space, packed with the very latest logistics technology which needs to be properly maintained – and fixed if something goes wrong – so we can get our products out to our stores and online customers. Around two million single orders are processed every week at Castle Donington, so the skills of our engineers in keeping everything up and running are vital.

Jake is now one of our engineering team. He started at Castle Donington back in 2012 as a Warehouse Operative. Today, the site can hold up to 16 million products, but things were far more modest back then.

“I was part of the second group of Operatives to be taken on, so there was about 20 of us at the time,” Jake explains. “The site was still in a test phase and there wasn’t a great deal to do apart from general housekeeping and learning the warehouse processes. I could see, however, that the job could give me a way into a career in engineering, which had always been something of interest to me.”

So how did Jake make it happen?

“I basically went to my managers and convinced them that I had the interest and the raw ability to make it in engineering. If you don’t ask, you don’t get! I obviously came across well and was given the job of First Time Fixer, one of the first people to take on the role. This involved managing a range of faults as well as setting out practices for others to follow. Then, in 2014, I was promoted to Engineering Assistant.”

Jake’s now part of a team that pro-actively monitors our fully automated equipment, carrying out fault response work and routine maintenance. He’s a turn-to person to identify system issues and recommend modifications, and getting to know every inch of machinery has meant a lot for Jake to learn.

“Working alongside other engineers, I’m continually expanding my knowledge and hope to be a fully qualified engineer in my own right one day. My training has been extensive, covering everything from climbing to abrasive wheels and Logopak labelling systems. I’ve also been fortunate enough to complete an NVQ Level 2 in Performing Engineering Operations and I hope to sit Level 3 soon.”

Would Jake recommend his career path to others? “I’d encourage anyone to consider a career in engineering with M&S. You’re gaining skills and knowledge that will set you up for life. This obviously benefits you in your job, but learning how things work also comes in handy in your home life.”

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