Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2024 with Team Manager, Jade Chester

We spoke to Team Manager, Jade to hear about her apprenticeship and the invaluable skills she’ll take forward in her career in retail.

At M&S, we currently offer 21 learning apprenticeship programmes from 14 different providers. The courses are open to all colleagues, offering them the flexibility to progress in HR, Digital and Data, Business Transformation and beyond! With 246 colleagues currently on the path to success, we’re proud to support personal and professional growth.

We spoke to Team Manager, Jade to hear about her apprenticeship and the invaluable skills she’ll take forward in her career in retail.

Hi Jade, what is the name of your apprenticeship?

I’m working towards the Learning & Development Practitioner Level 3 apprenticeship.

What skills are you learning as part of your apprenticeship?

Definitely time management and even MORE organization. My facilitation skills and wider business knowledge have also been stretched. I have really learned to reflect on how I learn and how I can develop that through a career in retail.

Why did you originally decide to take on an apprenticeship?

Since joining the Academy store team in Bolton, I discovered that I had a real passion for helping my colleagues to grow and reach their potential. Since then, I have moved to the Manchester Academy where I’ve been able to coach colleagues and progress their careers. I knew that learning & development was the avenue I wanted to go down so when this opportunity was offered to me, it was a no brainer.

How does M&S support you through your apprenticeship?

The support starts with my Line Manager. They hold me to account and make sure I give my apprenticeship the attention it deserves, whilst coaching me when I need support. The M&S People team have also been really supportive and encouraging. I’ve been offered opportunities to really go outside my comfort zone and do things that have helped push me both personally and professionally. 

How did you balance work and learning with your apprenticeship?

I won’t lie, it can be difficult at times. I’m a really busy person and I sometimes put myself and my learning on the back burner. Through my apprenticeship, I have a supportive skills coach who I can talk to about my studies. Ultimately, it’s a fine balance but it’s one that is really worthwhile. I have a dedicated day per week to my apprenticeship now. It’s easy to get distracted but I try my best to stick to it!

What would you say to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

Do it! It's so worthwhile to stretch yourself personally and professionally and, it’s adding a lot of value to my future career goals. I would recommend doing a lot of research into your chosen course and be ready to do a lot of hard but very worthwhile work!

What would you say to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

It’s an amazing opportunity that you should take if you have the chance. It gives you a huge head start compared to other pathways.

Learn more about a career in retail with us here

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