In early 2011 B&Q and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation went out looking for a team of bright young candidates to form B&Q’s first ever Youth Board.
Hi, I’m Jamie Scott Taylor and I’m 18, living in Oldham and studying at The Blue Coat School. Words cannot describe how thrilled I am to have made it onto the Youth Board; it’s such an amazing achievement!
I entered the competition thanks to my girlfriend who saw an advert in a newspaper, and knew it was just the thing for me. When I entered I never imagined I’d make it all the way, but you’ve got to be in it to win it!
As well as my studies I work part time at B&Q Oldham, where I help around the décor department. My appointment to the youth board will allow me to see the different sides to the business. Currently I can see up the chain of command, now thanks to the board I will be given an insight into how the business works from the top, and hopefully this will round my understanding of how large firms operate, and how the Ellen MacArthur foundation is changing the shape of business.I cannot wait for my colleagues and I to get underway with the task we are set. I want to gain new friends, new contacts, and a real insight into the future model all firms will one day operate: in sustainable, circular models.
My favourite part of the final was our website innovation challenge, so watch this space!I’d like to say thank you to all the assessors at the final, you have helped make my dreams reality!
Jamie is shadowing Damian McGloughlin, B&Q’s Operations Director.
Damian McGloughlin is B&Q Operations Director and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the UK’s largest home improvement and garden centre retailer with our 357 stores, 40,000 products and 30,000 employees. Damian started his career with B&Q some 23 years ago when he got a Saturday job while still in education. His original aspiration was to join the police force, which he was unable to do until he was 18, so he took a full time role with B&Q, planning for it to be a stopgap until he could apply to the force. During that stop gap he fell in love with retail and with B&Q and by the age of 22 had worked his way up to become a store manager in Leeds. He subsequently ran ten stores before being promoted to regional and then divisional management roles. In 2011 Damian was appointed to the board as Operations Director. Damian was born in Leeds, is married and has three children. He holds a black belt in martial arts.
Jamie on the Isle of Wight induction weekend:
An intense weekend filled with activity, anticipation and appreciation. Our first weekend as a board was superb fun. It gave me a real insight to how corporate life works, meeting with executives and looking at future challenges. The weekend started off with a team meeting at Southampton Central station, immediately the team gelled, gone was the pressure of the final where we were watching over our backs, now we were open and ready, speculating over what the challenge would be. My eyes really opened when the idea of coffee beans and mushrooms was put to us, it’s something I could never have anticipated!
The pool tournament that evening was eventful, with some awful attempts from me.
Meeting Jamie on Saturday, the CEO of the foundation was great; it’s good to know that they really value what we’re doing. Meeting Ellen the same weekend was a great honour, I think this is one of the highlights of my weekend, coupled with our ”excellent” raft building skills.
The activities on the water were great fun, having not got wet during kayaking, I was hoping for the same fate on Sunday. Unfortunately our raft broke apart on hitting the water, none of us quite know why though!
Listening about the circular economy and the unsustainable linear system made me think that everything should become circular! A great weekend with some inspiring questions, I cannot wait for the next meeting in December!
Jamie is meeting Damian, his board mentor, later this month – check back to find out how he got on.
February Worksop Distribution Centre visit
I received a tour of the facility from the Operations Manager to help me understand the impact a take back model might have on the supply chain. I was able to see how the logistics of getting products from supplier (both domestic and import) are dealt with. Their state-of-the-art IT systems with its smart thinking is very interesting ensuring the facility minimises its stock loss and that product is stored and shipped when needed. I was also shown how the facility has utilized its transport, as well gaining an understanding as to how the fleet is operated and schedules implemented. The Managers I met were helpful in prompting further questions that require consideration and also provided me with an insight into potential future problems - something I hope the Youth Board might address.
Early March at Retail Week Conference
Presenting at the retail week conference 2012 was an amazing opportunity to showcase not only what I and the Youth Board are capable of, but of showcasing what young people are about, and smashing some of the stereotypes of today. When you see a 15 minute presentation, it’s difficult to appreciate how much time and effort goes into ensuring it all flows, and looks correct. For the past month, we have been working tirelessly every day without fail, on ensuring scripts and slides look the best they can be. We started work on the presentation back in February, where we had a two day presentation skills course! The techniques and discussions were invaluable in ensuring that our presentation wasn’t just good, but great!
The opportunity I was given to actually have five minutes presenting on stage at the conference and to talk about what I know, was great. I shared with senior retail executives how young people are thinking, and how we perceive their industry. For me, the conference wasn’t just about showcasing young talent, or asking retailers to rethink their loopy ideas, it was about getting another insight into how big and small business work. It’s helped me see not only how B&Q and Kingfisher work, but to see how other firms interact and bounce off each other. Networking and seeing other presentations was also excellent; a particular highlight being Ian Cheshire’s presentation, and the Google presentation.
I now appreciate how much goes on behind the scenes when presentations are organised, as well as how firms can learn from each other in an open honest forum for ideas and innovation.
Late March – Kingfisher’s results
Having never been to an investor presentation before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, other than a big bank in the city. Ahead of this meeting the Youth Board had already received a presentation from Euan Sutherland about how our business links with the city, and how to understand the financials. The bank’s presentation facilities were far above expectations, and seeing Kingfisher’s Group Board present and respond to questions was inspiring and educating. The insight gained into the future strategy of the business was invaluable not just to our project but also as an employee working on the shop floor – I’ll be able to go back and convey what I’ve heard first hand to my colleagues to help them understand where we fit into the plan that we’re all in together.
Since I was first paired up with Damian as a mentor, the one thing I’d really wanted to do was spend a day with him getting to know his job. This was particularly important to me as I work in a local B&Q store. I was fortunate to get my wish spending an afternoon with both Damian and Grant, one of the company’s Divisional Directors.
We visited several stores and I was able to discuss with them what it is they both enjoy about Retail, their jobs and how they got to the positions they are in now. Damian’s story is particularly inspiring given he too started out working part-time in a store when he was about the same age as me.
The experience was really insightful helping me to understand what the Board look for that sometimes it is difficult to hear first-hand when you are on the shop floor.
31st July - The final presentation
The final presentation was the culmination of a year’s learning and research. Over the year we all researched a number of topic areas in relation to the circular economy, and how B&Q could adapt its business model and incorporate features of it.
My role for the final was preparing to answer Q&A alongside Yahya and Josh. We were basically the answer bank on the concept we were presenting and the board could ask us anything about our findings.
I approached the final presentation with confidence and trepidation. Confidence because I felt I and the other Youth Board members had a solid proposal and knew it inside-out but trepidation because we were unsure if the Board would like it or take our findings further.
I needn't have worried. The board welcomed our findings, and were thrilled with one idea in particular which they believe has real legs to go forward.
The final day finished with us presenting o bandq house and sharing our favourite moments with the whole team.
End note from B&Q:
Jamie’s plan prior to his experiences on the Youth Board had been to study Air Transport Management at University and go into the aviation sector. His year on B&Q’s Youth Board though has changed all that and we’re delighted to hear having done so well in his A-levels, the past year has also left him with a passion for retail that he now wants to make a career. Jamie is now studying Retailing, Marketing and Management at University and we couldn’t be prouder.
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