In my job, I’m really lucky to meet lots of interesting people; government ministers, leaders of industry, and most importantly our colleagues and customers who shop in our stores.
Whenever I tell someone I work for Tesco, I get a variety of reactions but there’s always a genuine interest: ‘what’s that like then?' Everyone has a view on Tesco, but often their view of what it’s like to work here couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re surprised at what you tell them. And the word that surprises and engages people most is opportunity.
This week, we welcome nearly 1,000 new colleagues in the UK, with a new dotcom store which opened in Crawley on Monday, creating 700 jobs. Tomorrow our 50th ‘regeneration partnership’ store opens in Corby, with 300 new roles. Through these 50 regeneration partnerships, we’ve worked with local councils and colleges around the country to recruit and train more than 5,000 people who’ve been out of work for more than six months. You can watch a film about one of our earlier regeneration partnerships, Widnes.
I’m really proud that we’ve been able to support so many talented and enthusiastic colleagues back into work and we’re just about to start recruiting for two more stores in the North East. When times are tough for many people, I’m pleased that we’re still able to create opportunities and use our scale for good.
Retailing jobs get a bad press. You hear the “shelf stacker” cliché used casually, but I can’t think of another business that offers such a huge scale and breadth of opportunities, no matter what level you join at. At Tesco you really can progress from the ‘shopfloor to boardroom’ – it’s a reality and I know because I have experienced it. I joined the Tesco team without a degree, managed to talk my way onto the graduate scheme and from there worked my way up through the business, in stores and in head office, in the UK and abroad, to become UK Personnel Director and part of the UK Leadership team. I’m not the only one - there are many examples of colleagues who have had a similar journey. Our new UK Managing Director, Chris Bush, joined Tesco at 16 and has run our businesses in Thailand and Malaysia before coming back to lead the UK.
So my welcome message to our new colleagues would be that they’re joining a dynamic, passionate team who really care about making what matters better together for our colleagues, our customers and our communities. Everyone is welcome, whoever you are, whatever your background or experience, if you want to get on, move up and build a great career at Tesco, there is nothing stopping you.