Student takes on Tesco night shifts to help during crisis

18 June 2020

  • After pandemic halted year abroad Sarah Jackson wanted to help in crisis
  • She is working nights at Tesco and then studying during the day
  • The 21 year-old was determined to help her community through the crisis
  • Sarah says there is a great camaraderie among her team of night workers

Undergraduate Sarah Jackson has taken on night shifts at Tesco on top of her studies to stay productive and help her community during the coronavirus crisis.

The 21 year-old, from Warrington, has been studying during the day for her BSc International Business with German degree and then donning her Tesco uniform to start work at 2am to pick and pack the food for the supermarket’s online delivery service.

Sarah (pictured) finishes at 9am and then after a quick nap is back online for her lectures and seminars at Warwick Business School.

“It is a bit knackering, but staying busy and not obsessing over the news has helped a lot,” says Sarah.

“At first my family were a bit concerned about whether it was safe to go to work; three members of my household have health conditions which make them vulnerable. However, with the social distancing measures introduced in store and by working night shifts I have been able to minimise my contact with the public.

"My new schedule means that I see a lot less of my family than at the start of the quarantine because I keep sleeping through family activities and meals! Nevertheless, they’re happy that I’m making the most of this strange time.”

Every little helps: Sarah Jackson on duty at Tesco

Sarah was in the middle of her year abroad as part of her degree when the pandemic struck. After spending the first semester at Vienna University of Economics and Business, Sarah had been studying at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich when she was forced to return home and is now following her studies at the University of Munich online.

“At first, I found it very stressful,” says Sarah. “I came home very abruptly from my year abroad and there was lots of uncertainty about my university and housing arrangements in Germany.

However, WBS provided a lot of support through this and now, like many, I think I’ve started to settle into this new situation. It’s hard not to worry about the future after lockdown, but for now I’m just thankful that my friends and family are healthy.

“We work five nights a week. As part of the online department, we collect the products that customers have ordered online. In the last six weeks, Tesco has almost doubled the number of click and collect and home delivery slots they offer, giving priority to the most vulnerable. To achieve this, they have taken on thousands of new recruits.

“The team is made up of people from many different backgrounds who have lost their jobs or been furloughed due to the pandemic: teachers, airline crews, hospitality workers. Most of us have had our lives turned upside down, but when we come together on a night shift there’s a great sense of camaraderie because we’re all focused on getting those orders out.”

Like all other universities and busines schools WBS had to shut down its campus facilities because of the lockdown and students have been studying online since March.

Students and staff have had to adapt quickly to the situation, but Sarah felt she needed to get out there and do something in her community during the pandemic.

“At first, I found quarantine a little difficult after coming home from a fast-paced and exciting year abroad,” says Sarah. “I also knew that I wanted to be out there doing something productive and helpful through this crisis. I started applying for farm work and jobs in supermarkets, and quickly got a call from Tesco.

“It has certainly kept me busy. I’m still taking part in online learning with the University of Munich. Thankfully, lecture and seminar recordings have been provided online so I can work through this after work and on my nights off. Quarantine has become busier than I could have imagined at the beginning, but by following these lectures and seminars in German I’m still getting the chance to practise my target language.

“It has been a difficult time, but it has been great to see so many people coming together to help their community.”

Join the conversation

WBS on social media