Inspiring confidence through OSS Retail

The aim of OSS Retail is to deliver a learning experience that inspires and develops retail professionals to reach their full potential. Delegates often leave the programmes with an enormous sense of self-confidence. This was undoubtedly the experience of two delegates from Morleys Department Stores.

Group Buyer, Camilla Shroff attended the Academy in 2016 and Mellissa Jones, Sales Manager at the Pearsons of Enfield store attended the Foundation in 2017. We caught up with both to find out how attending the respective programmes had helped them in their roles.

Camilla saw the Academy as an opportunity to grow confidence in her existing role: “It was an amazing opportunity to meet other retailers, especially those from larger companies. It was reassuring to discuss our challenges and realise they were facing the same issues.”

“It was also fantastic to hear from the likes of Wilf Walsh (then at Carpetright) and Beth Butterwick from fashion store Karen Millen. This was an opportunity that doesn’t happen very often.”

Mellissa added “I am naturally quite a confident person but I arrived at the course wanting to understand myself better. It was really interesting to find how I come across to others.” Since attending the OSS programmes both have noticed a significant difference in their professional confidence.

Camilla commented “Since attending the Academy I’ve felt more confident in what I do and the decisions I make. Working with McQuaig has also helped me to understand different personality types and how to interact with them. When you’re working with a team it’s really useful to know how to better communicate with different personality traits.”

Mellissa added “Attending the Foundation has really helped me to understand how and why I react to certain situations. In a retail environment you’re faced with so many challenges on a daily basis. It’s good to understand how to manage those challenges and make better decisions.”

Both Camilla and Mellissa were approached about attending an OSS programme by managers within the business who believed they could really benefit. In fact, Mellissa’s line manager Wendy Rayner, Store Manager at Pearsons of Enfield was herself a graduate of OSS: “The experience gained during the week has been invaluable to Mellissa both personally and professionally."

“A broader perspective, outlook and understanding of the business is now very evident. The week has presented Mellissa with a valuable insight into the role that she can play in the future development of herself, her team, departments and the wider business.” commented Wendy.

Morleys is a group of eight department stores, seven of which are in and around the Greater London area plus Camp Hopson a little further out in Newbury, Berkshire.

The organisation has a long association with OSS and we spoke to the Managing Director, David Hordle about why he continues to send delegates to OSS programmes. He commented: “Morleys Stores Group has supported the OSS by sending delegates for over 15 years. I believe it offers my team an incredible opportunity to learn new skills, meet their peers, share ideas and hear from some incredible retail speakers. Our delegates return to the business brimming with confidence and full of ideas of how to improve their store. That can only be good for our business.”

“It’s also not just our delegates that benefit from OSS programmes. Louise Walker, Morleys Group Training Manager is one of the Group Leaders on the Foundation programme, sharing her experiences with the delegates, helping to lead them through the course, while continuing to develop her own L&D skills.”.

To find out more about OSS courses and how they can support your learning and development programme please contact Terry Lees on 0121 446 6688 /

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