DMU students learn the skills and qualities needed in the retail industry

Students have been learning about the scope of career opportunities available to them with one of the country’s leading department store retailers.

Four students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have spent a day getting a taste of various roles available to them at John Lewis.

John Lewis - students DMUworks .WEB

Kirandeep Kaur, Emily Neal, Joanitah Kamuze and Chris Ingrams shadowed managers both on the shop floor and behind the scenes as part of the #DMUworks programme.

They said they ‘learnt so much’ at the Leicester Highcross store as they got to grips with the ins and outs of the customer-focused retail world on Wednesday (April 18).

The students got to experience what goes on in departments such as fashion, home & garden, electricals and furniture, as well as stock-management, customer services and marketing. They also sat in on an assessment centre to find out about key workplace skills the retailer is looking for.

John Lewis students - Joanitah.WEB

Joanitah, 19, a first-year Law student, said it had been a great opportunity to build her workplace experience and skills.

She said: “I’ve had a lovely day at John Lewis. I really felt part of the team and made some professional relationships.

“It’s given me an insight into what jobs are available and what each manager’s responsibilities are.

“I got to see all the challenges and decisions managers have to make on a day-to-day basis, it’s been really interesting.”

Kirandeep, 21, a first-year Marketing student, said she was now more work-aware and had a better idea what to expect in the future.

She said: “I learnt so much. I’m used to being a customer, but I saw everything through the eyes of a manager, I saw the other side of everything.

“I’m now more aware of what skills are essential for managerial positions. They have to do and think about so many things.”

John Lewis Emily at shoe department.WEB

A highlight for the students was to meet Head of Branch Gary Rowntree who shared the details of his career, which has included 15 different jobs in 11 stores around the country.

He started his John Lewis career as a Saturday Sales Assistant and progressed through the ranks as part of the John Lewis Management Training Scheme.

Gary, who manages 320 staff and 30 managers, said: “It’s been a welcome opportunity for us to meet the students and share our opportunities.

“Students may not necessarily understand the breadth of retail management, but there are an awful lot of often quite specialist opportunities available, both in the UK and abroad.”

He added: “As a large employer, we get involved with a lot of community work and we are pleased to have this relationship with DMU.”

The students asked Gary about plans to appeal to younger customers, especially students, and the challenges of getting customers to spend longer and buy more in the store.

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DMU is dedicated to ensuring students are work-ready and given the best possible chance of getting the job they want and deserve.

#DMUworks is a new employability platform offering students the opportunity to spend from one to ten days within an organisation developing their work-ready skills. For more information, see the #DMUworks web page.

If you are a student or business owner interested in getting involved in #DMUworks professional experiences, email dmuworks@dmu.ac.uk

Posted on Tuesday 24th April 2018

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