17 November, 2016

More from Peter

I’ve definitely grown as a person on the Programme. I’m stronger in dealing with difficult situations and managing my time. I’ve had countless opportunities to lead a team, so my leadership style’s developed, too. Most of all, I’m happier because I really enjoy what I do.

I was at the golf driving range when I heard that I’d been given a place on the Programme – and naturally, I was delighted! 

I’d also applied for a place at Uni, but I think being on the Programme’s given me so much more. I’m at least two and a half years ahead of graduates who enter Marks and Spencer straight after Uni; I’ve been earning and learning with no university debt; and I’ve enjoyed working in a varied and extremely fast paced business where I’ve been able to achieve and stretch myself. 

I’ve also started a degree in business management with the Open University alongside my School Leaver’s Programme. And, comparing the two, although I enjoy my degree, the Programme’s allowed me to take charge of my own learning and develop some key work skills. It’s also a lot easier to apply the on-the-job learning I receive on the Programme to real life and develop the qualities you need.

I think there are three main qualities that will help you succeed at M&S. Firstly, you need lots of energy, so you can give great service to customers and inspire your team. Secondly, integrity – you have to be prepared to work hard, be honest and embrace the M&S values. Finally, just be yourself – the great thing about teams at M&S is that they’re made up of people with different strengths. You have to bring your own dimension to a team.

Having said that, I’ve been told my best qualities are that I give friendly, clear direction to my team and I have a strong, 360-degree global view. This certainly helps at M&S, because no two days are the same. For example, today I started by reviewing how a recent move in our suit department looked with another commercial manager. Then I talked through plans for an upcoming sale with my section manager, followed by a management huddle and a review of weekly sales. Next, we had our team brief where we celebrated members who’d given fantastic service this week. 
Being on a fast-track scheme I’ve learnt SO much! Especially in leadership and managerial skills, because I’ve been given some really significant responsibilities early on in my career. 

It was pretty daunting when I started work on my first day. But as soon as I was in store, all the staff were really welcoming and I quickly started to feel at home. I think my proudest moment so far came after a successful commercial walk around of our food hall with the Central London Regional Manager, Laura Mitchell. I was telling her about some of the fantastic things we’d done there and she said I came across extremely well.

There are fantastic opportunities for personal growth and career development and in five years’ time I’d like to be a manager of a really large department in one of our biggest stores. I feel part of an exciting business where my future’s limitless and I can go into one of many areas, which is incredibly exciting. It’s been an awesome head start in my chosen career.

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

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