What are you doing now?
I work for Morrisons in the Online Platforms team as a Front End Product Owner. My role involves working with different business and technology teams to improve our online websites, in particular our Food Boxes website. It was set up entirely to “feed the nation" with essential products during the first COVID lockdown, but is now evolving into much more with gifting, subscriptions and recipe boxes.
I graduated from the University of Bristol with a 2:1 degree in Psychology in 2018, which I was inspired to study after taking it as an A Level. I'd always been interested in people, the brain and why we all behave as we do. We learnt about all sorts of experiments at A Level and it seemed like a great bridge between Social Studies and Science. My course at Bristol was "Experimental Psychology", a three-year degree learning all about people and experiments. I also ran experiments with fellow students and analysed the real results, such as "Does consuming a drink during a meal mean you eat more?" and "Do extroverted people prefer advertising images with groups or single people?”. The aspect of Psychology that interested me most were the social experiments and learning about the brain biology, which I find fascinating! My favourite module was probably “Post Trust Politics” which was all about the Trump era, climate change and how our psychology influences politics - still relevant now. I also learnt a lot about data and statistics to back up experimental results that can be used as evidence, and how to write up technical findings in a way that the public could understand.
Although I didn't end up going into a career directly related to Psychology my degree gave me many transferable skills such as leading presentations, group work, writing up a research paper (which can be likened to business cases in my current role), communication, interpreting data, and critical thinking… as well as the general life skills that university teaches you when you're away from home comforts, of course!
After my degree I completed a two-year Digital & Technology Graduate Scheme at Morrisons Head Office in Bradford. I did various placements round the office, gaining experience in online websites and technology systems. My highlight was project managing the launch of Morrisons’ first ever online Click and Collect store. I was offered a permanent role in the Online Platforms team as a Front End Product Owner.
My favourite part of my job is being able to understand the ins and outs of how an online shopping website works. I get to work with so many teams from technology, supply chain, trading, customer services, finance... I didn't know so much went into running a supermarket! It's great to see the impact of what I work on in the real world - everyone needs groceries so it's always busy and new ideas are happening. For example, I could be planning an idea to improve our websites with a whole team of people for months, but when it launches and you start to get customer feedback, that's when you really start to see the difference it makes.
I loved my time at South Craven and the support of my teachers meant I got the chance to go to university and have my dream job that I never even knew existed!
What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?
“Fake it 'till you make it" really can work! Leaving the comforts of a school you've been at and friends and teachers you've known for years can be daunting. Whether it's the first day of Freshers at university or the first time you have to lead a business meeting at work, I still find “fake it 'till you make it” a mantra to live by.
No one is an expert in everything or confident 100% of the time, but if you believe in yourself then that's the part that really matters and you're already halfway there - no one can doubt hard work. You'll keep looking back in months or years at the new opportunities you've taken or new skills you've learned and think “I can't believe I've got here." you'll be shocked at how much you learn, even when you don't realise it, just by experiences.
What are you most proud of?
The confidence I've gained since leaving school, in part from the support of my family and friends, and in part the high expectations of myself and just telling myself to 'bite the bullet' and do what scares me. I can now run meetings at work with a whole room of people and not even feel nervous because I love my job and am confident that I can do it. It's a constant journey with confidence, but I’m proud looking back how I've evolved as a person, while still being myself. Onwards and upwards!