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Daire Matiluko: Graduate

By M&S
Book open Reading time: 2 mins

I started my grad programme working in store, understanding the journey from supplier to shelf, and getting closer to the customers. It’s been a great foundation for my future roles.

My first rotation was in the Food team, which is a really vibrant part of the business. There’s constant innovation going on, which gives you such a buzz. I loved seeing new ideas and campaigns come to life, and I even got to try some delicious food!

Then, when I worked with Inclusion and Diversity on the Pride campaign, they said, ‘Okay Daire, you’re leading this. We’re here to support you, but this is your campaign to lead.’ The feedback that we’ve had from our LGBTQ+ network has been really good, and they love everything that we’re doing.

This year, we entered our first ever float into London Pride, and when we presented that to the Food Marketing Group, everyone was like, ‘Smashing job, keep it up!’ It sits right with me to know I’m making a difference for all our colleagues, whether they’re celebrating Pride, or Black History Month, or International Women’s Day.

On my first day, I was worried that I might be the only Black person in the office. But when I walked in, I realised I’d got completely the wrong end of the stick. I got to meet the Director of Menswear and Kidswear at the time, who was also Black, and when I met the rest of my cohort, I saw they weren’t just the typical men in suits that I’d expected.

But people don’t always realise just how diverse we are at M&S, so I decided to start my own internal magazine project. My boss got me in front of the right stakeholders to launch it, and they all loved it. They gave me tips to improve it, and now I’ve had the opportunity to work on that side project alongside my day job.

Because of the amount of responsibility M&S give us grads, you can really see they mean what they say about turning us into the leaders of the future. That’s why, with the new cohort coming in, I’ve buddied up with two grads to help them make the most of their rotations. M&S is changing, the world is changing, retail is changing – and I want to be the person they can look to for advice.

At the start of the scheme, I got my own advice from my internship line manager. He said to me, ‘You’ll become more well-rounded if you have a go at all these other things.’

That’s why, although I’ve fallen in love with my first rotation and my team, I can’t wait to experience everything else the business has to offer.

Daire’s summary 

The reason I love it so much is because the things I do feel like they’re actually making an impact. You get the opportunity to present to people who really value your opinion, and it’s nice seeing the work you do being put into play, especially when you’re making a difference for your store colleagues.