After A-levels – a career alternative to university
When I first started with the company at 16 I never thought I would pursue my career any further than just an evening job to support me while I completed my A-levels.
I have just turned 20 years old and have been a line manager for just over a year now at the Tesco store in Newmarket.
In my last year of college when I was 17 I was approached by my store manager Alistair, to go onto the store line manager Options scheme, Tesco’s training and development programme. I worked hard and did lots of overtime for the store, however it still came as a surprise. Working in retail was always something I wanted to do so on my 18th birthday (you have to be 18) I attended an Options sign on session.
Once I was signed onto Options I applied for a team leader role on checkouts. I loved the role and it gave me the ability to look after my own team and coach them on customer service. I was then given the opportunity by Alistair to complete my Options placement as a Petrol Filling Station manager. The role was lots of fun and at 18 years old I was managing a team of 11 people.
While I was there, my personnel manager Claire spoke to me about a Young People’s Panel being set up in the UK business. I applied, but never in a million years did I think I would be successful! There were 12 places and I was an 18 year-old from stores, but it just shows how amazing our business is – it doesn’t matter where you are from, there are endless opportunities. The panel has taken me out of store numerous times over the last year and I’ve been given different opportunities in the office which have all been great.
After working alongside my last year of college I was signed off on the store Options scheme and went into a full-time management position as Grocery and Warehouse manager. Not many 18 year-olds leave college and go straight into a full-time management position working for the biggest retailer in the UK!
I’ve been given so many opportunities in the few years I’ve been at Tesco – being selected onto the Young People’s Panel, being signed onto a Future Leaders programme, spending time in the office with the commercial team, buyers and stock control team, and going out for the day with my store director to learn about his job. I don’t believe any other business in the UK would do so much for people they see potential in.
For people getting exam results now, I’d say that even if you don’t get the results you’re hoping for you can still be a success, but you have to be the driving force behind it. I was lucky enough to get good results, however I didn’t need those grades to get to where I am in my career now. I got to be a manager at Tesco by pushing myself and working hard.