15 November, 2016

More from Molly

Molly’s career at M&S began as a seasonal worker in a Simply Food café. She loved the way we do things so much, she decided to apply for our School Leaver Programme. She’s currently a trainee Commercial Manager at our Canterbury store.

The School Leaver Programme just felt right for me. My experience of working at M&S put into perspective how much I didn’t want still to spend another three years in education. It was the idea of working together to deliver a superb customer experience that really appealed to me. This made me realise how much I valued working with customers. I’m currently 12 months into the programme; I’ve covered every area of the store and, I don’t for a minute regret my choice.

To begin with, I have time on my side; it’s like having a three year head start on my uni peers. I think some people continue with their education because they feel it’s the right thing to do. In a way, my education has continued at M&S. I’ve learnt more in the last year then I ever did a school; the amount of responsibility I have is an education in itself.

Thinking back, my first day is a bit of blur. But I do remember being very warmly welcomed and feeling at home. There is an amazing depth of knowledge at all levels of the store and everyone has been more than happy to share this. I’ve grown up a lot since joining. Learning on the job has enabled me to mature very quickly and, because I’m putting what I learn into practice, I’ve grown in confidence. I’m a lot more driven too, as I’m doing what I’m passionate about. 

One thing I would say is that you have to be ready to drive your own development. Don’t get too comfortable; you have to keep pushing. It’s not like school where you have teachers to supervise you. There’s a lot of knowledge here, but no-one is going to spoon feed you; it’s about helping yourself. It’s down to you to ask for advice; be sure to take it all in. Keep an open mind too. I was dreading doing the Finance and Operations module of the programme. I thought it would be weakest area. However, because I learnt so much from it, I actually enjoyed it immensely. 

I think being level-headed has helped me enormously. I take each challenge as it comes and always focus on the positives. It’s also good to look up once in a while; to see beyond the immediate facts and understand where these fit into the bigger picture. This gives you a whole new perspective on things. It’s also important to have a genuine passion for what you do and respect for those around you. These will take you a long way. 

The best part of my job is being able to motivate people and help them get the most out of their jobs. I feel proud to work at M&S; we’re a great team. I’ve yet to meet anyone I don’t get along with – probably as we all have similar qualities. There are so many amazing people here. That’s what makes M&S the brand leader it is.

In five years I hope to be a commercial manager in a large store, working towards the goal of becoming a store manager. I don’t see my future with any company other than M&S.

Can you see yourself joining Molly on our Level 4 Apprenticeship Scheme for School Leavers? Click here.

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