9 March, 2017

Making more of a career

Jane has worked in retail since she was 16. She joined M&S just over three years ago to help with our busy Christmas period, before joining us permanently and moving around in a variety of roles. Jane had always looked to broaden her horizons and give her career prospects a boost, so when she saw that we were launching Level 2 Apprenticeships for Customer Assistants, she jumped at the chance.

Jane’s application was successful and she was one of the first to benefit from the Apprenticeship’s mix of theoretic and on-the-job learning. So how has she found it?

“To be honest, I didn’t expect it be so in-depth, so knowledge-intensive, and probably the most challenging thing for me was accessing the social portals such as Yammer. It’s also meant managing and prioritising my time so I can do justice to the Apprenticeship and do my job,” she explains. “But the first module gave me a really good all-round picture of M&S. I learned about how we source our products and our Plan A sustainability strategies; it really brought home to me how, as a business, we always strive to do the right thing.”

As well as taking Customer Assistants beyond their role, we’ve designed the Level 2 Apprenticeship to help them do what they do on a day-to-day basis even better.

“I believe that M&S customers visit our stores because they know they’ll get personal service. I’ve always had a strong relationship with customers and have regulars who I see every day. What the Apprenticeship has done is helped me build on this in line with our values. ‘Inspiration’ comes in the form of my acting as a role model for others. By being more commercially aware and spotting an opportunity to sell additional products, I’m demonstrating ‘Innovation’. By listening to customers and passing on their comments, I show I’m ‘In Touch’. And I’m a first aider, which is my way of showing ‘Integrity’”

Jane’s been grateful for the help she’s received during the Apprenticeship. “I’ve had loads of support from managers who’ve made sure I’ve had time to learn. All I have to do is message or email and I’ve got a response straight away. And it’s been great being able to share experiences with other Apprentices.”

And now it’s all paid off…

“I’ve recently been appointed Section Coordinator in Foods and I’m convinced the Apprenticeship gave me the knowledge to land the role. I plan to continue in this role and hopefully take the Level 3 Apprenticeship and progress further in the business. I really would recommend this path to any of my fellow Customer Assistants; it’s a great stepping stone.”

It’s been a busy period in her life, so does Jane have time for anything else?

“My family – they will always come first. And I always make time to enjoy my favourite M&S product: our Millionaire’s Dessert, it’s simply irresistible!”

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