Alex tells us about her experience of the Get into Retail programme with TK Maxx, and what she enjoys the most about working for the retailer.

Could you tell us a little bit about the course?

In June 2015, I participated in a 4-week programme with The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx – which provided me with the skills and experience to pursue a career in retail.

In the past, I’d never really had a ‘career’ and was more jumping to and from different temporary jobs. I worked in warehouses, secured a qualification in forklift driving, and had done a bit of painting and decorating here and there.

What skills did you develop on the course?

When I started the course, I had quite low-confidence and the programme really helped to bring me out of my shell. It give me the confidence to communicate with other young people on the course, TK Maxx staff and customers.

I’ve developed really good time-keeping skills, and one of my strengths is my ability to get deliveries checked off and items priced quickly so that they can be moved to the shop floor. 

In previous jobs, I used to work quite solo – so working for TK Maxx has been really good experience for me, as I’ve been able to improve my team-working skills and ability to communicate with others.

I made some life-long friends, and one young person who was on the same Get into Retail programme still works with me at TK Maxx.

And you were offered a job at the end of the course! Tell us more.

I was so happy to be offered a permanent job at the end of the course. I was really fortunate as they offered me a job at my first-choice store – the TK Maxx shop in the Galleries Shopping Centre in Bristol, which is where I did the Get into Retail course.

It was such a relief to finally have a stable job, where I didn’t have to worry each week whether I was going to get any work from the agency.

You’re now working for TK Maxx as a Shop Assistant. How do you feel you’ve progressed since the course?

My job at TK Maxx has allowed me to develop my leadership skills. I really enjoy being the ‘go-to’ person if somebody has a question.

I’m now responsible for training new staff – including those who go on to The Prince’s Trust’s Get into Retail programme with TK Maxx.

Can you describe what a typical day is like for you at TK Maxx?

Not really, every day is always so different! But I really like it that way.

I’m never bored, because the job is so varied. Whether I’m checking off deliveries, serving customers at the check-out, training staff, creating a new display in the shop or pricing items – I’m always busy!  

TK Maxx support Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day and you’ve been involved in the fundraising. Can you tell us more?

We’re currently running an in-store competition between staff, and I’m second place at the moment! We’ve been involved in fancy dress walks, man vs. food challenges and sponsored cycle rides. It’s been really fun, and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it.

What is your favourite thing about working for TK Maxx?

The independence they give me. I really like the fact that they’ll give me a task or a project, and trust me to get on and complete the task on my own.

The autonomy has really boosted my confidence – having somebody who believes in my abilities.

What are your plans for the future?

I really enjoy working for TK Maxx, so would love to progress up the ladder. I’m hoping to become a Team Leader in the near future, as I really enjoy training and coaching new staff. As a long-term goal, I’d really like to gain some work experience in TK Maxx’s buying team – as I like the idea of working in the buying team in the future.

Last, but not least, how would you describe The Prince’s Trust to a young person who has never heard of the charity before?

The Prince’s Trust is like a lifeline. You could probably describe it like being a ‘phone-a-friend’. They help you get out of sticky situations. The Get into Retail course was a real turning point for me.

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