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Meet Chloe, our BEAM Academy Lead about why she loves working in Digital and Data at M&S

Tell us more about your role

My job is essentially to make sure every colleague in M&S has the data and digital skills they need to make data driven decisions and drive our digital transformation as a business. And that’s from colleagues answering customer calls in our contact centre, to our buyers, to our data scientists. There are a lot of different needs and skills to cater for. 

We have a huge range of learning options that can support colleagues, from bitesize e-learnings, to workshops, to 18-month apprenticeship programmes, we try to make sure we have something for every learner. 

What is your favourite part about your role? 

In BEAM Academy we don’t just see learning as your classic e-learning modules or classroom style workshops. While those definitely have a place, we love running events that bring colleagues together and encourage them to teach and learn from each other. One of my favourite events is our 24 hour hackathon. We run these twice a year now and they’re open to anyone in the business to sign up to.

In our October event we saw 270 colleagues come together to solve 18 problems. A lot of these ideas then turn into real projects and go on to benefit the business commercially, but what I really love is seeing colleagues who have often never met before, come together and work to solve a problem. No doubt some of the best learning we deliver happens during those events. 

If you weren’t in your current role, what role at M&S would you want to try? 

I’d really love to work in the app team, maybe as a product manager. I think the app is becoming such an important part of the M&S ecosystem, its where you get your Sparks offers, where you buy your lunch using Scan & Shop. You can really enhance and personalise a customers experience through the app, both online and in store. There is so much opportunity to do some really cool stuff for our customers to make shopping at M&S easier and more enjoyable for them. 

Tell us one thing we might not know about you

This one is hard because I’m really open with my team and we all get along really well. I think one thing everyone assumes is that M&S was my first job, because I started here on the graduate programme. But after graduating I actually spent a year working for one of our Food-to-go suppliers, Greencore. One of the projects I worked on was to make the prawn defrosting process more efficient – so you can thank me for that next time you have a prawn mayo sandwich! 

What makes M&S special? 

I think it’s the fact that we put customers at the heart of everything. Even in my role where we’re training colleagues on data and digital skills, you’d think that wouldn’t have much to do with the customer, but we’re always asked to think about how our initiatives are going to improve the customers experience and help us deliver better service. 

Why did you originally apply for a job at M&S? 

I’d always been a fan of M&S as a customer, and I’d heard really great things from a few people had had worked for M&S, but I think what really drove me to apply was the graduate programme itself. The enterprise programme (now generalist) gives you opportunities to try out so many different areas of the business and lead on real projects from the get-go. I was at a point in my career where I just had no idea what I wanted to do, so this flexibility was so important to me. The programme allowed me learn about lots of areas of the business really quickly, which I think is why I’ve been able to progress so quickly in my career and land the job I’m in now.