24 April, 2015

It doesn’t have to be learn OR earn – it can be both

“Hi my name’s Helen and I’m responsible for Future Talent recruitment at Marks & Spencer.  This encompasses both graduate and school leaver recruitment.

“Many people believe that achieving a university degree is the best way to become highly employable. Sometimes that’s true, (from time to time it merely comes in handy) but in many cases, employers are looking for candidates with ambition, knowledge, skills and experience. It’s something not commonly discussed with students about to finish school, even though they’re often the ones worrying  the most about whether they’ll be accepted into university, or what they’ll do if they don’t succeed. But how many teachers and careers advisors are having conversations with students about the alternative options to going to university? For some students, they’re simply not interested in continuing full-time study – or in doing so just yet. For others, university just isn’t an option.

“Whatever the reasons, there are a host of unnoticed or under-valued alternatives available to these students. Options like apprenticeships, industrial placements, and school leaver programmes. The benefits of taking up one of these schemes are numerous and begin with earning a wage while you’re learning – both on the job and formally. There are also the benefits of learning new skills, meeting new people, travelling, and gaining the confidence and capabilities that come with working with people older and more knowledgeable than you.

“Take our school leaver programme for example. Targeting ambitious, bright, talented school leavers, the programme takes place in their stores, nationwide, and enables young people to develop into future Commercial Managers. Over 12-18 months, school leavers develop new skills, are coached by mentors and given responsibilities that will challenge their perceptions of how far they can go. And they receive a fantastic benefits package for it too. By the end of the programme, they’re ready to take on responsibility for multi-million pound budgets and the line management accountability for a team of Section Managers and Customer Advisors. It gives you learning, knowledge and experiences that a university degree cannot offer. In fact, some of the most senior people and Board Directors at M&S began their careers this way.”

Our scheme has just opened for those able to start work in September 2015.  To find out more, or to apply, click here.


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