With our HN Academy, the view to the top is crystal clear! Last week, the launch day of our new one-year management development programme, which trains talented Harvey Nichols employees from all over the UK and Ireland, took place. The great thing about this programme is that there is no one type fits all: it equips everyone, regardless of their background or role, with the right skills to become the type of manager they aspire to be. They can take their career with Harvey Nichols into any direction. We spoke to the ambitious career high-flyers themselves to hear about their different backgrounds, roles and goals, and where they each plan on taking the programme.

We presented each of our delegates with the burning question: where are you now and where do you want to take this programme?

Bronwen, Womenswear, Dublin
After having studied art history I set my mind on a career in retail and I currently work as a Style Advisor in Dublin. When I received an email from the HN Academy, it was in fact my Manager who pushed me to do it. I want to see how far this programme can take me and I hope to become an Assistant Department Manager or Department Manager for Harvey Nichols one day. This could be at any of their sites - Hong Kong would be really cool! I want to learn more about the customer and business side as well and focus on developing the business as a whole. I also hope that, in the process, I can build more recognition for the Dublin store, as we sometimes get a little forgotten about. I want to invest in putting them on the map and becoming more well-known.

Ioannis, Restaurant, Manchester
I work as a Head Waiter in Manchester and I have set my mind on a career in the hospitality industry with Harvey Nichols, as it is the best in this field! With this programme I want to improve my management skills and get an understanding of what’s going on within the rest of company. I feel as if, in order for me to progress within the Harvey Nichols environment, it’s important to also be aware of what’s happening in their beauty and fashion businesses. I also look forward to learning how I can help make profit and increase revenue. I know how hospitality works, but I would like to learn more things for the company and that’s why I’m here.

Allyscha, Womenswear, Edinburgh
I currently work in womenswear in the Edinburgh store. With this academy I hope to work my way up to Department Manager. What I love about this programme is that you can integrate with each other across disciplines and locations and not just with your own store. It really broadens your horizon: coming from Edinburgh and having lived in Spain before that, I had never been in London before... When the Welcoming Day of this programme came around, my department manager organised for me to come into London a day early so that I would have an extra day to explore the city. Experiencing London for the first time has been really exciting. I visited all the shops and got to see the Knightsbridge store. There are just a lot of people in this city compared to Edinburgh!

Giordano, OXO Tower, London
Having been a bartender before, I recently became a Sommelier at OXO Tower, Harvey Nichols’ flagship restaurant in London. With this programme I am looking to improve my communication skills. Giving and receiving negative feedback is a key point for me, as this is an important driver and opportunity for self-improvement. I have a great feeling about the Academy so far: the atmosphere is very good – people from all over the UK and Ireland are working together to get depth out of the course and they’re already high fiving each other. My career ambition is to become a head sommelier: I want to be in charge of creating the wine lists, training my people, and demonstrating procedures.

Joe, Womenswear, Birmingham
I currently work as a Style Advisor in womenswear in Birmingham. Me and my manager set up a development plan and had already been working towards this, so when the chance came to apply for the HN Academy we immediately jumped to the opportunity. The programme really shows that Harvey Nichols is a good company to work for, as they look after their own employees. So far it has been great. I want to develop myself in having difficult conversations and in coaching, as I think this is important in my role. With regards to where I want to take things? COO’s Manju and Daniela told us in their speech this morning that the sky is the limit, so as far as I can take it I will!

Our delegates make it clear that, when it comes to our academy, there is no one type fits all! No matter how diverse everyone’s goals are, the programme is designed to equip you with the qualities you need to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve. We can’t wait for what’s to come when these bright minds start combining their diverse backgrounds. This is only the beginning…

For more scoop on the Harvey Nichols Academy, read our review of Welcoming Day and our interview with the masterminds behind the programme.