The fashion industry is one of the most attractive places for young job seekers in Hong Kong to start their career. And, according to international fashion company Hennes & Maritz (H&M), it is essential to start low. The fashion company offers a two-week introduction training programme for all new recruits. 'It doesn't matter whether you work in the office, in the shop, or on the floor as a sales manager, floor manager or cashier. It is the same,' said Line Juhlin, human resources manager of H&M in Hong Kong. The programme consists of a five-day theory course, which teaches its employees about the history of the company, customer services and garment knowledge. After that, each employee is expected to practise the theories on the shop floor. H&M public relations manager Cher Chui said: 'We believe the store is the most important place for us.' She trained on the shop floor as a sales person for three weeks before taking up the PR job. She thinks this helped improve communication between office and frontline staff. 'We get to know the staff, feel the atmosphere and also get [a glimpse] of the experiences of the people who come to shop in our stores,' she said. After a stint as a sales person in Hong Kong stores, the company provides training for each assigned position. Ms Chui, for example, was trained in Sweden by the Swedish PR team, while Ms Juhlin was sent to the United States for HR training. Ms Juhlin said: 'It's tailor-made, depending on what position the person is going to get.' She said the company switched employees to different positions and stores. 'We want to develop staff by giving them new challenges in new stores.' H&M is a fast-growing company. It has opened four stores in Hong Kong in two years and is planning to open its fifth outlet next April. More experienced staff are sent to new stores to ensure a smooth operation. 'Staff must learn a lot of things and be inspirational,' Ms Juhlin said. She said H&M encouraged staff to discuss their career plans with their managers to find the most suitable position in the company. Managers, who receive requests from staff to move to other positions, will review their qualifications. And, if the person is not qualified, more training will be offered until he or she is ready for the new position. 'We never close any doors ... we always keep them open and we believe people can learn. They can grow and develop, so we help them to reach their goal,' Ms Juhlin said. Ms Juhlin started as a part-time shop associate, before becoming a full-time staff member. After that she was promoted to floor manager, shop manager and finally became area HR manager in Hong Kong. This highlights another characteristic of H&M - internal recruitment. 'We are growing so we need external recruitment, but we think it's good that we can promote people internally,' Ms Juhlin said. 'You can have the knowledge of one position and bring that to the next position and have the understanding of all sorts of positions.' Once staff get promoted to management level, they will be put through an internal leadership training programme which consists of two stages. The first stage is a two-day workshop that teaches basic leadership skills. The second phase focuses on providing feedback to staff and developing them. 'People pick up by looking at each other, by looking at the leaders they have in their departments. It is very important that our leaders are good role models,' Ms Juhlin said. The two training programmes are carried out without any external assistance. 'We want to keep the same feeling, the same culture. It wouldn't be the same if it's done externally,' Ms Juhlin said. Internal affairs H&M runs a two-week introduction training programme for all newly recruited employees The course includes company history, customer services, garment knowledge and practical training on the shop floor Employees are encouraged to discuss career plans with their managers as internal recruitment is preferred'