Jack Miers has been on quite a journey since leaving King’s Ely Sixth Form! Here, he tells us what he has been up to and how he feels his time at King’s Ely shaped him into the person he is today…
“I joined King’s Ely Senior in Year 9 at the age of 13 and I was at King’s right the way through to Year 13.
“When I left King’s at the age of 18, I was not too sure what I wanted to do. Whilst at school, I had completed a University application, visited numerous campuses and had decided on a course that I thought I could see myself having a career in. At the same time, I was constantly exploring opportunities to move into a job with further education and training opportunities.
“My A Level subjects of Economics, Business Studies and Politics ignited my interest in all things business, and I yearned to see how some of that learning worked in practice. Coming from a family that runs a third generation manufacturing business, meal time discussions, especially as we grew older, would often be about the workplace issues of the day. I could often relate to it and one day hoped to contribute to it myself. I even offered up a solution or two, quoting the academics behind supply and demand and giving advice!
“With my heart not really set on going to University, but September getting ever nearer, I was applying for post A Level jobs almost daily. I got through to the final interview stage on a couple of occasions having jumped through hoops of online assessments, group observed tests and several stages of interview but never got the one and only job on offer. Finally, I got a call from Sainsbury’s saying that I had been successful and had a place on their post A Level Management Scheme. I grasped the opportunity, got myself kitted up for the workplace and couldn’t wait for my start date to arrive.
“In October 2014, I embarked on the Sainsbury’s Management Scheme, and after some initial intensive training which I passed with flying colours, I was assigned to my first store – a trainee at the Harlow superstore, where I spent the next 18 months cultivating my skills, learning everything I could about people, labour and stock management. Studying hard and passing the modules, I soon progressed up the pay scale. As part of the scheme, I had to commit to moving location and working my way through the various departments. In the spring of 2015, I moved onto my next store as Bakery Manager at Chipping Ongar in Essex, where I worked within a small store that allowed me to hone my skills further and increase my experience of the complexities of whole store management. My next move was back to a large store in Welwyn Garden City. Having secured the knowledge of additional department workings and on occasions stepping up to deputise for the Store Manager to provide cover, my confidence was growing. It was a steep learning curve, but one I relished. I began to sit more comfortably with my management style and I had access to what I would consider some of the best role models and mentoring.
“Unexpectedly, I was then poached by Morrisons! A store in St Albans was about to go through a major re-fit and re-launch, and after much deliberation I moved to them as a Department Manager. I never looked back. I was loving life, working hard and lots of hours but feeling rewarded and that I was making a difference to both customer in-store experience and colleagues’ performance. However, I did live with one slight regret. Several of my friends who had gone to University had also taken the opportunity to travel – I felt I had missed out on the chance and hankered to explore a little more of the world to see what it had to offer. An opportunity arose and once again, after much deliberation, I decided to put my career on hold and take a year out. With no significant commitments to worry about, the timing seemed as right as it could be.
“I spent a memorable eight months travelling extensively through Asia, relying on my own inner drive to get me to the next place, live on a budget, keep safe, whilst at the same time experiencing as many thrills as I could pack in. I returned home full of enthusiasm and bursting with a desire to join the family business, to re-invigorate it and to come up with the next best thing to sliced bread!
“The family business had experienced some changes while I was away and there was an opportune opening that I could fulfil. I decided not to return to retail, handed in my notice and joined LJA Miers & Co. Ltd, which has been in our family for over 65 years. My learning started again, all things manufacturing this time. My retail experience and management skills gained from the supermarkets are invaluable and I bring new ideas from a corporate world that can add value within an SME business.
“I am currently its fourth generation, with my father Andrew Miers, who is the Managing Director. The business was started in 1954 by my great grandfather Lesley Miers, who started out converting ex-military vehicles into civilian vehicles, applying seatbelts and rubber window trims. As we aged and moved out of London we got very heavily involved in the automotive industry and we proudly supply JLR, BMW, Aston Martin and McLaren with various anti-rattle, anti-vibration components and everything and anything that can be made from foam! More recently during the COVID pandemic, we have re-deployed our machines and people to make full face visors for our local Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the wider NHS. I am involved in exploring alternative applications for our products and contribute to new investment in new machines to keep ahead of the game.
“I am thankful for the whole educational, sporting and social experience that I had at King’s Ely. I remember it fondly. My favourite extra-curricular activities were most certainly the King’s Kayaking Club with Mr Lott. The breadth of trips offered were fantastic, ranging from the Welsh Valleys to The Alps. My love of kayaking that I picked up from King’s remains with me today. This was followed closely by various Ely Scheme activities every Thursday, including the notorious Three Peaks Challenge. As a ‘new boy’ in Year 9, I remember how easy it was to fit in and be accepted, especially through involvement in House activities. The House Music Competition was a particular favourite and the plethora of inter-House competitive events, which of course were fiercely contested.
“King’s most certainly contributed to the person I am today and I know my parents would say that too. King’s is not just a school that focuses purely on academia, but I firmly believe the school focuses on the individual. The extra support I could tap into during and after school for example, right through to the carefully planned scheme of activities, has all helped me to understand what I’m good at, how I like to learn best, how to make contributions in different groups, how to gain a view of the bigger picture and how to be a more rounded individual.”