The Retail Leaders Apprenticeship is a great way to start your career because there are so many development opportunities. Originally, my end goal for the programme was to become a Team Manager, but thanks to all the hard work I’ve put in and the support of my managers, I’m proud to say that I will have achieved that by early next month. Now I need a new goal – I think I want to be a Deputy Store Manager by the end of January next year!
Before I started, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, but you can really choose whatever you want to be here, and the apprenticeship has helped me to build a career path I enjoy. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves working with people as much as I do! I like meeting new people and helping them to succeed, and I’ve already learnt so much about how to manage a team and support colleagues to grow.
There are great tools and networks to help colleagues who may be struggling or need some support. Each store has a Business Involvement Group (BIG) representative who is there to listen to any issues you may have and to improve the M&S community. And the job is flexible depending on what works for you: the different shift roles make it possible to set a work plan around your commitments.
In each canteen, there are also snack cupboards for anyone who has forgotten their lunch. I think this is especially important as we face the cost-of-living crisis, and it makes colleagues feel better when they arrive at work. I think this ties in with M&S’ wider ethics as a brand – we’re always striving to do the right thing, whether that’s helping people to eat sustainably, reducing the plastics in our packaging, or ensuring responsible sourcing in our supply chain.
We are all contributing to M&S’ transformation, and as young people, we will be the future workforce, so we need to take every opportunity to ask questions, learn from our managers and support others to develop alongside us. My advice would be to be open and honest – be yourself, and there will be a job role for you. And trust the process, because you never know what the next job role you come across will be.
“Originally, my end goal for the programme was to become a Team Manager, but thanks to all the hard work I’ve put in and the support of my managers, I’m proud to say that I will have achieved that by early next month. Now I need a new goal – I think I want to be a Deputy Store Manager by the end of January next year!”