Jessica Szczerbinski, from London, completed a Get into Retail programme with Gap in 2017. Since then Jessica secured in a role in the Islington store where she progressed through the business and was promoted to Senior Sales Associate and Floor Manager.
Jessica tells us about her experience on the Get into Retail programme, and what she enjoys most about working for Gap.
What was life like before you found out about The Trust?
Before The Prince’s Trust, I felt very discouraged. After completing college I was unemployed for over three months. I was continuously completing job applications but not getting anywhere, and this really affected my confidence. I often felt quite closed and shy, and the thought of working in a big group was really daunting.
How did The Prince’s Trust and Gap help you?
I found out about The Prince’s Trust through my local Jobcentre and they helped me to secure a place in the Get into Retail programme with Gap. I then completed a placement in Gap’s HQ in London. It was great to work alongside the team and I learnt so much about the company and what they believe in and stand for. I gained skills in communications, customer handling, speaking on the phone and completed practical training. The team were incredibly supportive and this the placement helped to develop my confidence and not to be shy.
What was the biggest challenge?
At the beginning I was very shy, in a big group it was very daunting to come forward and voice opinions. I had always much preferred to work in a small group with less personalities. Throughout the programme we took part in team building exercises which boosted our confidence, this encouraged us to open up and not to be afraid of working in bigger groups. I really believe this training played a big part in getting me to where I am today!
What happened next?
Following the programme I was able to secure a full-time role in the Islington store as a Sales Associate. This role helped me develop my customer service skills, learn about store presentation and meet new people.
What has been the biggest reward?
Of course securing the job at Gap and my recent promotions to Senior Store Associate and Floor Manager has been fantastic! But finding my confidence has been so important. Being shy initially held me back and I wouldn’t be where I am now without this experience. Recently I was shortlisted for the Everywoman in Retail Award for my work with The Prince’s Trust and Gap too.
What did you most enjoy at Gap?
Being part of a great team who are like family! They support and push you to become greater. The other most enjoyable would be the day to day interaction with customers from all different backgrounds and walks of life. It’s such a diverse brand you never know who you’ll meet and strike up a conversation with next.
What are your plans for the future?
I am using all the skills and experience I gained through my time at Gap and with The Prince’s Trust, to support me in more future career and plans.
What would you say to a young person looking for support from The Prince’s Trust?
Definitely go for it! If you are struggling with confidence or feel like you need that extra bit of developmental support, The Prince’s Trust can help you and improve your skills to get a job. They help you every step of the way, there really is nothing to lose!