Wiltshire resident Mark Smallpage has landed a job at the new John Lewis at home shop in Swindon as a result of his experience gained with the Territorial Army in Afghanistan.
The 38-year old from Dursley returned from a six month tour of duty in the Helmand province of Afghanistan to take up a role as Section Manager in stock management at the new John Lewis at home branch on Mannington Retail Park.
Mark joined the Territorial Army in 2005, while his ‘day job’ was a Partner supervising the delivery team at the John Lewis outlet shop in Swindon.
Mark says: “I was inspired to become involved with the Territorial Army by my father who was in the Armed Forces. I attended an assessment weekend in 2005 and having successfully met the enrolment criteria, it marked the start of my dual career.
“The John Lewis Partnership was very supportive of my decision to become involved with the Territorial Army and when I was deployed to Afghanistan the company was completely behind me. Until that point, I had spent my working career providing customer service and then found myself being required to provide peacekeeping of a totally different type in Afghanistan!”
Mark’s wife Sarah-Jane was also a huge support while he was in Afghanistan. Sarah-Jane says: “I am extremely proud of Mark for fulfilling his duty and completing his tour of service. It is, however, absolutely fantastic to have him safely back home and working locally.”
Mark adds: “I have gained so many skills through my dual-career, all of which have helped me in both retail and military environments. Flexibility, working as part of a team and being a good communicator are obviously essential for both roles. I think a great sense of humour helps too!”
Dominic Joyce, branch manager of John Lewis at home Swindon comments: “Mark is a hugely valuable member of the team in Swindon and has been key to the success of the new shop.
“John Lewis looks to recruit local people wherever possible, and while the ability to provide excellent customer service is essential, a background in retail is not as important as the right attitude. Mark’s approach to the job is a perfect example of this. His enthusiasm and can-do attitude is second-to-none and has ensured his continued success within our company.”
John Lewis at home opened on Mannington Retail Park in Swindon in October 2010. To keep up to date with news from the shop please visit the branch manager’s blog at www.johnlewis.com/swindon