Chloe Chappenden

John Lewis Partnership Graduate and Industrial Placement schemes

About the scheme

The Partnership’s graduate and industrial placement schemes opened up for 2015 applications this month, and thousands of university students are expected to apply ahead of the closing date in December. They’re an essential way for the business to attract and nurture talented Partners and managers for the future. Their schemes include the pan-Partnership Finance and Technology graduate schemes, John Lewis Retail Management, Buying and Merchandising graduate schemes, Waitrose’s Graduate Leadership and Industrial Placement schemes for both John Lewis and Waitrose.

James Kay joined the Partnership last year on a three-year Technology graduate scheme, and he’s working across several different IT departments and projects on rotation, having already spent time with the John Lewis Online team, working on the John Lewis Android phone app, in operational support, and on a four-week secondment in India with a third-party IT supplier. The Technology graduate scheme looks for individuals who have an aptitude for problem-solving, logical thinking, and are passionate about technology; applications from any degree background are welcome. “The scheme drew me in because the graduate scheme gives us a recognised qualification in project management, and it was clear that the amount of investment going into IT in the Partnership would make it an interesting place to work and learn,” says James, who studied Business Management. “We’re able to pick up new skills on the job, and the rotations in the first two years means we get a good overall understanding of how IT sits together and what we’d like to specialise in.”

As well as preparing graduates for a role in the business later, the schemes give each year’s intake the chance to work together on Partnership-wide projects which, says James, are a great opportunity to get to know the business better and build networks.

Chloe Chappenden, CRM Executive, John Lewis, and Sophia Mitchell, Marketing Assistant, Customer Loyalty at Waitrose, both completed one-year industrial placements with the myWaitrose marketing team during their degrees, and have gone on to secure jobs with the Partnership after graduation. Chloe – who worked at Waitrose Winton while completing her Business Studies and Marketing degree – applied for a placement at her manager’s suggestion. “It was an invaluable experience and I wouldn’t have been able to get this job without the specialist and technical skills I’d gained through it,” she says. “Customer Relationship Management is a very specialist and data-driven area of marketing, and I didn’t know much about it before I did the scheme, but I absolutely loved it and decided I wanted to go into the loyalty side of marketing once I graduated. I’ve been able to take everything I learned at Waitrose and apply it at John Lewis.”

Sophia studied Business Management and Marketing and her industrial placement year inspired her to write her dissertation about loyalty schemes. After graduating, she re-joined the myWaitrose team. “Doing the scheme really has driven my career direction,” she says. “I built a lot of confidence and good relationships that have helped me come back to the business. The placement gives you real responsibility and you’re coached from university into the workplace with accountability and a proper job role. I love the culture here and it was a real privilege to come back to work for Waitrose.”

Angela Whitney, Early Careers Talent Programme Manager at Waitrose, adds, “After successfully completing the scheme and finishing university we hope our Placement students will re-join the business through one of our graduate schemes or an advertised role.”

Applications for 2015 entry to the graduate schemes and industrial placements close on 3 December; see the Partner intranet or for more.

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