Why did you choose the John Lewis Partnership?
Initially, I knew what industries I was not interested in and this helped me narrow my search. I came across the Partnership's Graduate Scheme early on in my job hunt and it seemed interesting. The more I researched John Lewis the more I realised that the culture and the values of the Partnership are very much in line with my own personal views on how a business should be run. I was also deeply impressed by JLP's Corporate Responsibility initiatives and programmes. Additionally, John Lewis and Waitrose have got a great reputation for their excellent customer service which I experienced first hand on numerous occasions prior to applying for the Graduate Scheme.
What your role does / will involve
At the start of the Technology Scheme all Graduates take part of a five weeks long induction programme called "GradLab". This process is designed to help us familiarise ourselves with the IT Operational Model within John Lewis. Each week we learn about the most important stages of the aforementioned model. We were split into groups at the start of GradLab and each group had to come up with a solution to a problem proposed by the Partnership. By the end of "GradLab" each group should implement a working prototype of their proposed solution. The different stages of the GradLab include innovation, idea shaping, gathering requirements, implementation, testing and transmission to operations. I'm currently in my second week of my induction.
Once the GradLab is over, I will go into my first rotation. As part of the Graduate Scheme I will have the opportunity to join different teams within the IT department and work in different job roles for each rotation. The rotations will enable me to get exposure to the different stages of the IT Operational Model / Software Development Cycle. These include a rotation in business analysis, development, testing, operations and project coordination (not necessarily in this order). The rotations are not set in stone and therefore there are opportunities to join teams that I am interested in e.g. Information Security, Environments etc.. Each rotation is 2-6 months long depending on business need.
I do not know what my first rotation will be at this point, but I have been internally approached by the Business Intelligence team who wanted to find out more about me and my aspirations. The team is involved with working with Big Data and Machine Learning techniques which is definitely a field of IT that I am interested in. This is just another example of the flexibility of the scheme and the number of opportunities that are available within the Partnership.
What has been your highlight so far?
My highlight has been spending the first three days of the Scheme at Odney Club in Berkshire. Odney is one of the many hotels owned by the Partnership and has got great facilities to hold conferences as well. The surroundings of the hotel is beautiful and peaceful. Graduates from all Schemes attended the three days induction. It was a great bonding experience for all of us. We learnt a lot about the Partnership and each other. I made some great connections all across the business and got a chance to meet some very senior Partners including Sir Charlie Mayfield, The Chairman. I do not know of many organisations that welcome their graduates in such an exceptional way. This experience also made all of us feel at ease and going to the office the following week felt natural.
What do you enjoy the most?
I particularly enjoy that every Partner is easily approachable regardless of their seniority. The structure of the induction enables us to meet representatives of numerous teams across the Partnership's IT department. This helps us to get a high-level understanding of the function of different teams and how their work fits in the bigger picture. Meeting so many people across the department makes me feel welcome and more relaxed at the workplace despite the large size of the IT department and the fact that I have only been in the office for a few weeks. I find it fascinating to see how such a big organisation operates and enjoy learning more and more about it.
What support has been provided to you?
There are a number of different ways the Partnership provides support for its Graduates. I am paired up with a Graduate from the previous year who is currently my Buddy. Having someone who was recently in the same position as I am now is extremely helpful. It allows me to ask any questions including ones that are not directly related to the job itself. Additionally, there is a great Graduate community in the IT department. Each and every previous Graduate is easily approachable and helpful or puts us in the right direction to seek help.
There are also the Sponsors of the Scheme who organise and plan our journey within the Partnership on a collective and individual level. I also have a Line Manager who I meet regularly to discuss how things are going and helps me to set out personal objectives.
On the top of all this, The Partnership supports and encourages self-learning and self-development. We were given access to industry leading online learning platforms and tools that we can use at anytime to further ourselves and our careers.
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