Director of People For Tesco Speaks To Forge Students

Students at Forge benefitted from an exclusive careers talk this week with Emma Taylor who is the UK and ROI people director for Tesco.

Organised by youth social mobility charity Speakers for Schools, the charity aimed at ending educational inequality, the interactive talk was broadcasted virtually to around 310 students in year 10.

Emma works with the UK leadership team to deliver experiences for Tesco’s 300,000+ colleagues and delivers on the business’ strategic priorities in relation to colleagues, including supporting young people in employment, learning opportunities and skills, and diversity and inclusion.

Emma joined Tesco in 2001 as part of the Graduate scheme, starting her career as a store graduate trainee. From there, she developed an interest in the HR side of the business and became a store personnel manager. During her time at Tesco she has gained experience working across the business including with large stores, convenience and distribution, in head office and leading elements of the people agenda.

Emma delivered two sessions to students, the first directly to business studies students where they had a host of questions for her in relation to topics they are covering. Areas discussed included HR, recruitment processes, transferable skills, blended learning within an organisation and the principle of flexibility for organisations like Tesco which is becoming even more important in recent years.

The subject of recognising what is important to people was carried through to the second session where Emma delivered a careers talk. She covered routes into careers with an organisation like Tesco, graduate schemes, apprenticeships and the importance of skills like listening, timekeeping, resilience and many more. Students listened in classrooms as Emma talked about employers looking for transferable skills and their importance.

Students in both sessions were keen to ask questions about a variety of areas like salaries, structures of the working day, selection processes and training.

Principal, Dr Lisa Mason, said: "During Covid it's been incredibly difficult to find work experience placements for our students. The placements are important in providing students a line of sight into the workplace. Having Emma talk to students about Tesco, the sector and expectations of them is invaluable. We are incredibly appreciative of the time she spent with our students. We've had a really positive reaction from students and staff.

"We would also like to thank Speakers For Schools for their great work nationally in the education sector - we've benefited from a number of talks now and they have all had a positive impact on our young people."

The talk represents one of many facilitated by Speakers for Schools. Founded in 2010 by ITV Political Editor Robert Peston and supported by the Law Family Charitable Foundation, the charity aims to level the playing field by giving young people access to the same networks as the top fee-paying schools, through inspirational talks and work placements.

Emma Taylor said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to speak at Forge, in partnership with the Speakers for Schools programme. It is so important for leaders from businesses to have the opportunity to engage with young people, give them an insight into the world of work, and hear about what’s on their mind too. Thank you so much to the students at Forge for engaging in such a dynamic discussion and asking such a range of thoughtful questions.”

Tesco plc is a British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Welwyn Garden City, England. It is the market leader of groceries in the UK, with shops in five countries across Europe.

Emma Taylor, UK and ROI people director for Tesco