Liz Barnett marks 36 years at M&S

Liz Barnett is now based at the Fort Kinnaird branch. Picture: Greg Macvean
Liz Barnett is now based at the Fort Kinnaird branch. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A Marks & Spencer employee has been honoured for 36 years of service with the retail giant.

Liz Barnett, 63, has lived in Musselburgh all of her life.

After being born in the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital in Abbeyhill, she grew up in the East Lothian town and has moved only from the bottom of the road to the top.

At school, she studied home economics and science, with a particular fondness for chemistry and biology.

That shaped her life for the next eight years – her first job coming as a lab worker at an iron foundry on London Road.

Liz left at the age of 24 to give birth to daughter Kirsty.

She said: “That was what it was like back then. When you got pregnant, you left work.

“Once I had Kirsty, I only wanted to work part-time but there was none of that in labs.

“I went to Marks & Spencer because I couldn’t go to the lab – I was only meant to work there for that Christmas.”

She did not leave after Christmas and is now celebrating almost four decades with the firm.

She began her career as a customer adviser in the M&S Princes Street store and over the years has held positions at branches across the Capital including Ocean Terminal and Morningside.

For three years, Liz was a regional trainer for M&S, which has allowed her to travel the length and breadth of Scotland and as far as Newcastle, using her experience as a customer assistant to train the next generation of M&S employees.

Now based at Fort Kinnaird, Liz is one of the store’s three coaches responsible for interviewing, inducting and training new employees.

She has played a key role in hiring an additional 23 members of staff as the store has extended its opening hours to 10pm on weekdays.

Liz’s dedication to her role saw her win the M&S Great Service Award for Scotland at a ceremony in London, with Kirsty by her side.

M&S Kinnaird store manager Elaine Anderson said: “In more than 30 years of service, Liz has completely embraced putting the experience of the customer at the heart of her role.

“She always has a genuine and friendly smile on her face, which is often passed on to her colleagues.

“Since joining our Kinnaird store team in September 2014 as a coach, she has always gone above and beyond her call of duty.”

Liz added: “I’m honoured to have been considered for this award and winning is the cherry on top of a great career that I continue to love at M&S. If I can make a difference for customers and colleagues then I’m happy.”

Away from work, Liz is a keen traveller, having visited Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Cape Verde and Jamaica.