STUDENTS GO BEHIND THE SCENES
To gain a more in-depth understanding of the graduate opportunities at M&S, Huddersfield University students immersed themselves in the world of M&S.
“It was really good to learn about the range of graduate schemes available and it was a good opportunity to talk to graduates who had completed the process.” In addition to a variety of activities, M&S colleagues, who’d joined as graduates, gave presentations on their experience. “All of the people were extremely passionate and interesting to listen and talk to. Mike, the Director of Sustainable Business, gave a motivating and encouraging talk about his job, work experience, and his life at M&S.”
For many of the students, sustainability was a substantial highlight. “The whole experience was remarkable, and the talk from Mike was icing on the cake. I also learned what goes on behind the scenes within M&S: M&S’ sustainable and eco-friendly approach to everything they do and what makes this great company stand out.” Students even discovered that M&S’ sustainability heritage stretches further than they imagined, “I didn’t know that M&S was the first store that started charging money for plastic bags!”
Overall, the students had a wonderful day learning about the ins and outs of what makes a company like us tick. Now that they’ve been given a taster to what our graduate programmes entail, we hope to see them back again soon!
Finding peace in a busy life
Kate has been with us for 8 years and she’s enjoyed a varied and exciting career. Throughout her career journey Kate has been active in supporting and promoting wellbeing at M&S, including running mindfulness workshops. Why? Because we are a company that believes that we can only truly be our best when we take care of each other.
“Wellbeing is something I’ve been passionate about for 15 years, when I started to practice yoga following a stressful time in my life. Through yoga and practicing mindfulness I’ve started to see the enormous benefits of balancing my body and mind. In a world of endless to-do lists and constant communication, I believe it’s important to set time aside to be active and also find moments for the mind to be calm so we can gain a greater sense of perspective on our lives.
Through my time at M&S I’ve seen our definition of wellbeing shift and find it reassuring we now take a more holistic view. It’s no longer just about physical health; it’s also about mental, emotional and financial wellbeing.
Today we all have great resources for promoting physical and mental wellbeing at our disposal. Anyone who works at M&S can easily find tips on being more mindful and examples of short exercises they can do to reduce stress levels. Our resilience toolkit shares advice and practical activities to help our people cope with those things life throws at you, at work or home.
I believe by focusing on our own wellbeing we can all be at our best more often – surely that makes a happier, healthier and more fulfilling world for everyone.”
Thanks to Kate and others who are working with M&S, there is plenty of support available to help us prioritise the wellbeing of our people.
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“Having been to Chalfont St Peter, I am really excited to open this. M&S will work with and support the local community and we have a responsibility to live up to people's expectations. Chalfont St Peter is a lovely village and our aim is to fit in and support it from day one.” Emma, Store Manager.
One can’t resist the spirit of Buckinghamshire, especially the sense of friendliness and community so intrinsically native to the area. That’s why we’re so proud to be opening a brand new Simply Foods complete with its own in-store bakery here. In addition, the store will offer one hour of free parking directly outside with a convenient local carpark within a short walking distance for those who are planning for a longer stay.
And a new store always needs great new people. People who understand what makes M&S the UK’s most beloved retailer. People who are passionate about delivering the iconic service and quality we’re famous for to our customers in Chalfont St Peter.
That’s why, at the moment, we are looking to fill roles ranging from customer service to in-store bakery and administration. In addition, these are for a variety of shifts patterns, covering all trading and operating hours.
So, if you’re excited by a brand new opportunity with M&S, find out more. Please click here.
Opening our doors in Didcot
“Didcot is a fantastic location for our new M&S Simply Food store. It has fantastic transport links and the surrounding community is eagerly awaiting our opening.” – Matt, Store Manager.
M&S is growing and Didcot, a charming market town in southern Oxfordshire, most famous for its railway links and power station, is the next location where we’ll be opening our doors.
Didcot and its surrounding areas are undergoing significant redevelopment with over 3000 new homes planned to be built in the coming five years. And with easy transport links to London this spells rapid growth and business opportunities in the coming years.
The new Food Hall located on Orchard Street will feature a coffee shop, an in-store bakery and a Click-and-Collect, making it a truly versatile store. And due to its location it will be a convenient destination for customers from Oxford and other affluent towns such as Wallingford and Wantage. That’s why it will also feature an impressive parking lot with 1200 parking spaces.
Naturally, a new store opening also means we’ll be looking to fill various roles and shift patterns. From Salesfloor Customer Assistants, In-Store Bakery Assistants, Café Customer Assistants through to Administration Assistants and many more. If you or someone you know has the passion to live by our values and the energy to be a part of the UK’s most beloved retailer, come and discover exciting career opportunities in our new store.Inside M&S
Meet Scott, M&S Store Manager, Glasgow
Scott has made his whole career in retail, ever since he was 17 years old. Starting out selling jeans in Glasgow’s Trongate and now leading a talented team of people in the largest M&S store in Scotland, Scott’s perspective on what makes one successful in retail is worth sharing with anyone aspiring to make their career in the business.
“I studied Marketing at university and I always enjoyed interacting with customers, working in teams and the general camaraderie of retail. I think this is definitely a field for naturally friendly people who care about others. I thought if I’m going to make a career of this it would be a good idea to join the largest, most respected retailer in the UK. That’s how I came to M&S.”
It’s not only the scope of work that the company does both in the UK and internationally that excites Scott. It’s also getting to work with real professionals who share a common goal and want to make every moment special for the thousands who walk through their doors.
“M&S Braehead has a reputation for consistently delivering results by giving our customers exactly what they want, when they want and how they want it. We do this by continuously inspiring each other and making sure we lend a hand and take an interest beyond our own needs and ambitions.
To be great in retail, you have to be 100% customer focused and actually have a passion for our products. You have to know them like the back of your hand and believe in them, only then can you sell them with confidence.”
And it is a fact, that in Glasgow, M&S has a higher market share than any other city in the UK. According to Scott, it is primarily due to the attitude that he and his colleagues share.
“Retail is for those who enjoy a bit of a challenge. At the moment, M&S is embarking on what will undoubtedly be the most substantial period of change that I have experienced in my career. Retail is an exceptionally fast-paced environment and our customers are continually changing their expectations, and the way they want to interact with our business. Therefore it is our job to ensure that we are adaptive and respond to their requirements.
What this means is that now more than ever before there are bigger and better career opportunities available for people who have a passion for retail and aren’t afraid of change and a bit of adventure.”
For Burns Night, Scott and his colleagues plan to celebrate by promoting the very best Scotland has to offer. “We are always proud to promote the very best local produce from our local suppliers, especially when we know them personally.”Inside M&S
Rachel of all trades
“Two days are never the same,” especially on Burns Night.
Rachel has worked across almost every department within M&S, “I started as a fixed term in the Inverurie store over the summer in July, in the café.” From there, she tried her hand on Fill, Coaching, and became Section Co-ordinator of both Café and Store Ops. She rose through the ranks of Service, eventually becoming Section Manager of Ambient Food Section and then Cold Chain Food Section. “Before finally ending up opening the new Bridge of Don store as a Foods Section Manager.”
In the epic poem of Rachel’s career, what’s kept her going and striving for better is “my team, the passion and drive that they give each and every day. Also, from our customers, you want to do the best for them that you possibly can.”
Now that Rachel has a new store and a new department to guide, her style has become clear, “always leading by example. Always a smile; a hello.” After sampling the breadth of roles and departments M&S has to offer, Rachel may have found her niche. She already has her favourites in the Food section, “either anything from our Indian range but also our mashed potatoes!”
For Burns Night, Rachel’s experience has taught her a winning strategy, “we are going big on décor, and by getting the team involved as well. Wearing tartan over Burns Week, but also going to try and get someone reading poems out to our customers.”
We’re always looking for talented people like Rachel to join our team. If it sounds like something you’d love, apply here.
A passion for Operations has led Sophie through the M&S family in search of her dream role: Commercial Operations Section Manager (COSM). “I transferred to the Aberdeen Store in 2006 as a temp in the Bureau de Change. Once the contract had finished, I got the opportunity to work in the Store Operations Store Support team (now known as the GM A&A team).”
This shift landed Sophie in the middle of an important change to the M&S ecosystem, namely, embedding TSL, the Aberdeen Control Environment, throughout her store.
This lead Sophie to the Admin team and analysing figures for the Management Team. After broadening her knowledge of Operations as a whole, Sophie “was then given the opportunity to become a Section Manager.”
Starting in Ambient in Aberdeen, “I transferred to Inverurie to gain Simply Food experience, in the hopes of eventually becoming a COSM in one of the new stores opening in the region.”
Sophie’s passion and hard work soon paid off, as, in August 2017, “I was given the opportunity to become the COSM in Bridge of Don Aberdeen, looking after Operations and the Café.”
Her dedication is clear to all that have worked with Sophie, and her approach to inspiring others makes every moment special for her customers, “act with integrity and lead by example.”
Her Burns Night strategy? “wearing tartan over Burns Week and having someone reading out poems to our customers as they enter the store.”
We’re always looking for talented people like Sophie to join our team. If it sounds like something you’d love, apply here.Inside M&S
Poetry in motion
Burns Night is often a time for reflection and appreciation of the poetry of life. How events and opportunities arise unexpectedly and how they’re suddenly a part of your life.
Few people find their perfect fit like Andrew.
Andrew has been with M&S for 32 years. Starting his journey as a part-time temp in Ops, Andrew was between career paths. But his indecision was brief as he decided to stay on and pursue his career at M&S, “no two days are the same and you can really make a positive difference to both customers and staff.”
Promoted to Manager of the Elgin store in 2005, Andrew has appreciated the agility of M&S, “a trusted mainstay that has kept up-to-date with Food Innovation and Quality”.
He’s worked as a Store Manager/Communication Manager ever since – “working in 6 other stores and opening 3 of them!”
2018 finds Andrew working his magic at the Bridge of Don Aberdeen Foodhall store, preparing for a Burns Night complete with poems, tartan, and more. Working closely with BIG, Andrew hopes to make the day special and, of course, patriotic.
Burns Night, in addition to the normal operation of the store, puts a lot on Andrew’s plate but his approach is clear: “prioritise customers and try to keep it simple…leadership is key in pulling everything together.”
We’re always looking for talented people like Andrew to join our team. If it sounds like something you’d love, apply here.Inside M&S
Meet Rachel, M&S Store Manager in Aberdeen
What is it really like to work in a team at M&S? Energetic and passionate people are one thing but what about our leaders?
Rachel is one of those veteran M&S people we always turn to when we want an honest and seasoned opinion. She’s been with the company for 11 years, joining as a Graduate shortly after leaving university.
“I knew that I wanted a fast paced and varied career that wasn’t office-based. I was attracted to the strong ethical values of M&S, so I began my journey in a small Simply Food store and, as you can see, I worked my way up to becoming a major city centre store manager.”
In between, of course, Rachel had to accumulate a lot of experience and it’s that wealth of diverse experiences, combined with her love for leading a large team of people that eventually led her to win ‘Store Manager of the Year’, an accolade awarded by our CEO at a conference in Wembley Stadium.
“If you ask me what it’s like to be part of a successful M&S team, I’d say this. I believe the key is setting goals through clear direction and joint strategy. I love hearing about my team’s opinions and experiences with customers. M&S has a culture of mutual respect, listening, hearing and understanding the needs of others are extremely important for our strategy.
I am continually inspired by my team, who work tirelessly to do the most fantastic job they can for our customers and that drives me to want to do the same. I want to create a brilliant environment for them to work in. That’s why I brief them every morning on our service priorities for the day and share customer feedback with them immediately. I make sure to deliver feedback in a positive way so as to make people feel empowered and to recognise and reward positive behaviours.
It can be a real challenge but I am always very clear that if we keep the customer the top priority at all times, everything else will follow.”
When asked about her advice for people thinking of a career at M&S Rachel had this to say.
“Go for it! If you love working with people, driving results in a fast-paced environment and have a customer-focused mindset, you’ll find a place where you can really enjoy a rewarding career!”
And how does Rachel plan on spending Burns Night at her store in Aberdeen? “We will be celebrating Burns Night with a range of Scottish treats including haggis, neeps and tatties, alongside a great selection of whisky and shortbread. “Inside M&S
Keeping people at the heart of M&S
Shelley is a Senior Advisor on the food team in Chester. Working closely with food suppliers and the food technical team, her role revolves around the accuracy of product data. It’s also her job to respond and action Customer Service queries – making sure to keep the right balance of what’s right for the customer, M&S and food suppliers.
“Here, we really do care about our customers and what they have to tell us. M&S has strong ethics and the amount of quality control measures and the high standards set are really eye opening – you really see it reflected in the reports too.”
It was this caring attitude that really hooked Shelley from the start. It was her mum who told her of M&S’ great reputation, and she’s been thanking her ever since. “I was expecting a company that looks after its employees, and that’s what I got. We have a fantastic team dynamic in food, if someone is having a tough day there’s always someone there to support you. I recently had some sad family news and the team were fantastic, they made sure my tasks were covered and offered reassurance. And a donation of M&S jam donuts on my desk on my return to work – what more could you ask for!”
Before going over to the food team, Shelley worked across many areas of the business. She’s been a Customer Service Advisor and a Team Manager, worked in the Executive Office and looked after recruitment, training and operational deliveries. Whether it’s on the customer or employee side, people have always been at the heart of her career. “The customer is the most important thing no matter what area you are in so you have to have a genuine care for people.”
“I’m currently a Business Involvement Group representative and find this extremely rewarding. I feel honoured that I can support colleagues in sometimes very difficult or emotive situations. It’s great to feel like you’ve made a difference to someone’s day, sometimes in the smallest way.”
The most memorable moment in her time at M&S was when they introduced the Croloaf, “a loaf of croissant”. Never mind the fact that she met her husband at work, the Croloaf was the turning point. “Come on – it’s a loaf of croissant that you can slice up and pop in your toaster! Outstanding.”
But above all, it was becoming the Academy Team Manager that was her biggest achievement. “I was very proud to be the face of our recruitment and interview processes, as well as looking after our new starters and their induction into M&S.”Inside M&S