During National Apprenticeship Week (4th-8th March) thousands of young people will be thinking about the next steps in their careers. Now more than ever, individuals are exploring other options outside of university, with many taking advantage of school leaver programmes and practical courses that prepare you to kick start your career. To draw attention to the options that are out there, M&S Teesside is celebrating the best of its young talent in the business to inspire others to join apprenticeships.
Meet Dan Lee, a 22-year-old from Teesside who enrolled on the M&S Level 2 Apprenticeship programme in 2017. Dan scored 100% on his final exam, the highest score anyone has ever achieved, despite the challenges he faced along the way, balancing his career while helping to look after his newborn son. Dan now works at M&S Teesside as a sales assistant and has big ambitions for his career in the business.
Dan said: “I started working for M&S when I was just 17 and after a couple of years decided to apply for the Apprenticeship Programme to help further my career. Eight months into the programme, I found out that my girlfriend, Naomi, was expecting. I was overcome with emotion and I wasn’t sure if I could commit to finishing the programme. However, through the encouragement of my colleagues at M&S, I was able to extend my apprenticeship from 12 to 18 months, which meant that I could take my time when my son, Joseph, was born. I couldn’t believe it when I achieved 100% in the final exam! I’m now really excited for the future and to see where my career goes from here.”
Joanne Thompson, Retail Apprenticeship Manager at M&S, said: “There are a range of programmes at M&S that enable young people, from school leavers to university graduates, to forge a successful career in retail. What is fantastic about our apprenticeship programme is that it allows those taking part to really get under the skin of how our business operates, from finance and store management, to visual merchandising and marketing. Learning styles are incredibly individual, so whether you prefer on the job training or in-depth theory and research, it’s important to be true to yourself, especially when choosing a university course or careers programme. Dan’s story is an inspiration to those who are thinking about what’s next for their future.
“We also offer apprenticeship programmes to all our internal colleagues from customer assistants, Section Managers and for those who want to progress into Store Management. They are a great way to develop your knowledge and skills and progress your career internally.”