Megan – IT and Business Change scheme
Within my first IT placement at Morrisons, I was given the position of a Trainee Cutover Manager working on Evolve Release 8. At first I hadn’t understood the scale of this, however within weeks I soon realised that Evolve as a whole was Europe’s largest IT transformation project, of which ER8 was one of the biggest releases, introducing Oracle Retail Management into Morrisons IT. I had been given the opportunity to gain fantastic exposure to the business and to develop skills and strengths that will form a strong foundation to any career I embark on in IT.
Within this role as ER8 Cutover Manager, I initially worked alongside 2 experienced cutover managers, learning the processes and governance around how to implement complex projects. I planned and managed smaller implementations with their support, as well as shadowing large implementations over weekends and on night shifts. This exposure ensured that I could witness the process from start to finish, understanding how to engage with business and technical stakeholders (including 3rd parties such as Oracle and Wipro) and developing my people management skills too.
After circa 6 months, I became the lead cutover manager for ER8, which was a huge responsibility and challenge to take on as a graduate. I am currently working on planning a large Business Intelligence cutover (impacting the financial areas of the business), as well as implementing smaller performance fixes to improve the efficiency and capability of our current systems here at Morrisons. 6 months ago I would never have believed where I am today, although with the help and support of my surrounding teams, I am progressing well, receiving great feedback and really enjoying this experience.
I feel that this short summary of my time at Morrisons so far demonstrates just how much you can get involved in, the scale of such projects and as a graduate just how much you can develop!
Brogan – Group Wide scheme
My first placement was within commercial operations, working alongside the director of the Morrisons Academy and Communications. As part of Morrison’s commitment to investing in our people, the decision was taken to build a physical Academy for our colleagues alongside refreshing the curriculum and learning offer.
Immediately I was given great responsibility in managing the build, along with coordinating the overhaul of our learning system. As part of this, my everyday role involved managing senior stakeholders across the various functions within the business to ensure all groups were working collaboratively. I was analysing our current systems to identify how we can improve these and deliver greater efficiency and service to our colleagues' development. As a result, I gained vital project management and timekeeping skills, confidence to present to large groups, vast exposure to key and senior stakeholders across all functions and successfully manage upwards, which can be difficult when you are new into a fast moving business such as Morrisons. It was challenging at times but it was hugely rewarding and a privilege to have delivered such a tangible asset for the company. Every time I walk past the Morrisons Academy I can say I played a key part in it. The Morrisons Group Wide scheme provides such fantastic opportunities, to be a part of exciting and transformational projects such as the Morrisons Academy. The scheme certainly allows for variety and opportunities are endless.
Nicola – Retail scheme
If you are ready to be challenged on both a physical and mental level in an extremely fast-paced environment, where rapid change is accepted as common place, then Morrisons is most definitely the place to apply your skills.
I was placed into a store generating over one million pounds of revenue on a weekly basis with a head count of 330 people. Needless to say in my first few weeks I immediately felt overwhelmed by the level of knowledge and experience that exists within a Morrisons store environment. The expectation to match this level and exceed it in order to fulfil the Duty Manager role was motivation enough to settle into a habitual process of incremental learning. This was aided by the support systems in place that helped me to be confident enough to face each challenge that arose. Your store team will always be more than prepared to support you through any difficulty. In my experience the examples of support and guidance came from multiple sources: having bi-weekly catch up sessions with my Store General Manager to discuss development; my Deputy Manager having a cup of tea with me on late shifts to share knowledge; Personnel staff helping me to find accommodation; my Fish Manager helping me with an unhappy customer. I really felt the one-team ethic coming to the fore during the more challenging times.
The culture within the retail environment is a huge step change from office work and University life. My senior management team was very firm, synonymous with the “archetypal store manager”, yet fair. If I was out of line I was told directly, but equally if I needed support my team were ready to offer help. As a Duty Manager responsible for hundreds of members of staff, as well as thousands of customers, the responsibility handed to you is huge. Consequently, there is a need to nurture you to a level capable to handle each and every eventuality from a store evacuation to an oil spillage on the petrol forecourt. I had to learn to accept criticism and understand that it was positive and necessary to develop me as a Retail Manager. As soon as I understood this, and challenged my Store Manager to build my confidence before offering criticism, my development both as a manager and as a person grew extremely quickly.
Louise – Manufacturing scheme
Having completed a Modern Languages degree at University a job in manufacturing was a leap of faith, and I harboured the natural doubts about whether or not I would enjoy this new working environment. A year on though, I have put paid to these reservations; the scheme has exceeded my expectations. Of course, there were times when I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of learning so much new information, but the structure of the scheme has allowed me time to develop and build up the necessary knowledge to perform to my full potential. The scheme is broken down into a series of placements across our own manufacturing sites, with some time spent in our retail sector to provide a unique end-to-end insight into the vertically integrated business model of one of the UK’s top four grocers, and what an integral part our manufacturing capabilities play.
From the word go during my first manufacturing placement, I was given real responsibility which allowed me first hand management experience both in terms of leading a team and steering successful projects. I headed up projects focused on continuous improvement regarding production and process efficiencies, and subsequently transitioned into a production line management role. The wonderful thing about manufacturing is that there really is no such thing as a normal day: the diversity of the role lends itself so well to the personal development objectives of a graduate. Throughout, I was required to work with site senior management as well as learning from the vast manufacturing experience of colleagues on the shop floor: the manufacturing scheme is a fantastic way to grow your professional network.
Throughout my time on the Manufacturing Graduate scheme future career development has been such a key focus, and the support from the business in this regard is unwavering. Each graduate is assigned a senior leader in the business as a mentor to advise, coach and encourage, while the graduate academy offers a wealth of support during placements including graduate tailored training courses. And that is the key thing about this scheme: it prioritises personal development and progression whilst continually challenging me to achieve, and as a result I have delivered tangible results for the business which I am extremely proud of. I would recommend the scheme to any prospective graduates who want the opportunity to learn about the one of the most exciting and quickly evolving industries in the world.
Robert – Logistics scheme
During my first 6 months in Logistics I have been involved in a number of projects aimed towards cost saving, improving and developing new processes and health and safety.
My first project looked at damages on site and how to reduce unnecessary costs spent replacing equipment. Through analysing data and delivering documents communicating the current costs and implications, I was quickly leading listening groups and DART sessions with both colleagues and managers to identify best practice and how we would get there. This experience was invaluable both confidence wise and from a people perspective and allowed me to draw up a simple to use process to monitor unnecessary loss that had already received buy in.
My second project was to review the current site rules and develop and implement new site rules which were simple and complied to health and safety. This was a great project as it involved communicating with a number of stakeholders including the Group Health and Safety Officer, the distributors for M Local 'Wincanton' and both our own and outside drivers. This was a completely new area of exposure to me and required attention to detail, persistence and thinking from a customer’s perspective to align the document into a simple, clear and easy-to-use format. The document delivered was endorsed by the Health and Safety Officer and is invaluable in improving health and safety in the yard to minimise the risk of accidents. It is also an important communication tool to our suppliers in layout of the yard and what is expected.
If you are looking for a graduate scheme that offers invaluable opportunities to develop, constantly pushing yourself into new and exciting challenges, where fresh thinking and a positive attitude are always encouraged, Morrisons is the place to be.
Dani – Technical scheme
Morrisons, as well as being the UK’s 4th largest supermarket, is the second biggest food manufacturer in the UK. This makes the Technical Graduate scheme a great opportunity to understand the technical role from both a manufacturing and retail perspective. I have had the chance to work with a range of different products, from fish to meat and produce to pet food, understanding how product quality and safety is achieved to guard our brand integrity and standards. In my first year on the Morrisons Technical scheme I have experienced different functions of this multi-channel business including manufacturing, non-food and produce with food safety, food technical and online still to see.
My first placement was in the manufacturing technical team, I was able to get to grips with technical roles across the meat, fish and chilled manufacturing sites. I worked on key technical projects at seven different factories, broadening my technical knowledge and understanding the challenges involved in the manufacturing industry.
I then moved on to the non-food area of the business, working with children’s toys. I was amazed by the number of rules and regulations in place in order to comply with toy legislation, visiting testing labs to understand how toys were considered safe for sale. This was a great learning curve and something I never thought I would have enjoyed before.
My time with the fresh produce technical team coincided with the launch of ‘blue dot’ – an investment to aid our stores in knowing which products must be kept chilled and which are at their best in ambient. With the commitment to move all strawberries into chill, I headed up a project looking at the cool chain from harvest to depot for each of our UK strawberry suppliers. This provided visibility of the temperature control our suppliers had from farm to depot, to help target improvements in the cool chain and get fresher product to the shelf. I was able to project manage the whole process, from setting temperature loggers off whilst stood out in the fields, to working with suppliers to discuss improvements to product quality. Whilst visiting various farms all over the UK, I was working with all areas of the produce team including trading, logistics and intake quality control, aiding my people management and communication skills. Being in fresh produce I have experienced first-hand how we get fruit and vegetables onto our shelves in the quickest time possible, keeping product fresh to the benefit of our customer.
The Technical Graduate scheme has shown me how technical expertise is required at each stage to create safe and legal products to support our brand. The experience I have with Morrisons would not have been possible anywhere else, due to the range of different opportunities available to me. I have had the chance to develop skills and knowledge in technical that I know will aid my future career.