Kane Gregory, 19, started at John Lewis as part of a week-long work experience through SHMU. He is now a full time member of staff in the Home Technology Department at the George Street branch.

“While completing my Media and Employment course with training provider SHMU, I was given the opportunity to get a one-week work placement with John Lewis. I knew I wanted experience in a customer-facing environment, particularly with electronics and technology. One of my favourite aspects about the work placement is they asked me what I was interested in, and gave me a chance to work in the Electronics Department. I was a little timid at first, but being able to help customers and share my knowledge has really helped build my confidence. I’m now in a full time permanent position with the company, and bringing a smile to the customer’s face is the best part of my job.” 

Executive Summary

John Lewis recognises the impact of work experience and are now offering long term placements.

Background

The company has worked with Aberdeen City and Shire councils along with many schools in the region to take on work placement pupils. They have now introduced the opportunity of taking part in extended placements which allow pupils to gain experience over a longer period of time.

Fifth and sixth year pupils are given the opportunity to work within a department they are interested in for two afternoons a week over the course of four months. Throughout the work placement, pupils gain experience engaging with customers and learning the various facets of the retail sector.

Placement pupils gain valuable first time experience of the workplace giving them a stepping stone to employment. We have staff that started out completing work experience at John Lewis, and they enjoy sharing knowledge and welcoming the pupils into the team. We try to give them experience of the workplace in general as well as department training to help build their transferable skills. Sara Elliot · Operational Support Coordinator, John Lewis Aberdeen

Return on Investment

The company has found the work placement programme to be useful for future recruitment, as several former placement pupils have had successful applications and now work with the company.

One former work placement pupil, Kieran Alexander, was just 14 when he came to the company as part of his work experience. This week-long work experience led to him joining John Lewis after he left school. He became a Section Manager at the age of 17.

Challenges

Sometimes the younger pupils find the work place completely different from what they are used to, but many enjoy the challenge and some have come back to work for us.” Sara Elliot

Future Plans

The company continues to offer work placement opportunities to young people from across the region.