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11th February 2020

National Apprenticeship Week 2021 - Zuleika

After deciding University was not for her, Zuleika joined a temporary Christmas role at M&S. She enjoyed her time in the home and kids’ department, but she was ready for a new challenge.

She picked up on the apprenticeship scheme at M&S and saw the opportunities for quick career development. It goes without saying, she applied to a retail apprenticeship and was successful in the process. She has now been given many responsibilities and opportunities to learn and explore different departments.

“I have been given many responsibilities and opportunities to learn over the past 15 months including clothing and home stocktake, launching Gift shop, and launching the winter season as part of my clothing and home placement. Whilst on Foods, a highlight was peak staffing – ensuring all colleagues were rostered and paid correctly.”

Challenges meet opportunities

Zuleika’s priority was to start earning and seeing her potential straight away outside of the classroom. Throwing herself into work was the best way to push herself and develop.

During her retail apprenticeship in the COVID-19 pandemic, Zuleika faced challenges like no other. She was part of a team that handled the furlough process and was on-hand to support other stores and get involved in key decision making to deal with the situation. Despite this, her experience was positive overall and extremely rewarding.

“For opportunities in the future I now know how to adhere to a brand and work with a large team of people, delivering a quality customer and colleague experience.”

Open doors to new career paths

As Zuleika’s apprenticeship is close to completion, she has now gained lifelong skills and has solid experience working in retail; commercial management people management and marketing are just some of the incredible skills she has mastered!

Zuleika’s role encompasses a mix of opportunities that have opened doors to new career avenues.

“I am coming to the end of my training now and have the responsibilities of a Deputy Store Manager. Day to day this includes ensuring the team are delivering everything the business expects to be actioned such as launching new deals and offers. Thinking commercially about our instore execution on new innovations; for example, where to position a prominent line in order for it to sell well in our store. Managing colleagues and ensuring everyone is happy and working to the best of their ability, delivering great service to ensure the store meets one of the four KPI’s.”

Want to get ahead in your career like Zuleika? Explore our opportunities.