Central England Co-op apprenticeship scheme helping dozens of colleagues in Derbyshire to achieve their career goals

Central England Co-op is helping its colleagues in Derbyshire climb the ladder with a growing apprenticeship programme helping sign makers to store managers take the next step in their careers.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (February 3 – 9), the Society is shining a light on some of the 78 colleagues who have embarked on an apprenticeship over the past two years and are highlighting the opportunities available to build a career across the business from food retail to funeral homes.

Among those to have taken the leap and seen the benefits an apprenticeship can bring are Derbyshire colleagues Gavin Glidewell and Sophie Mead, who have each taken part in the scheme working in very different roles across the business.

Gavin, from Chesterfield, completed his Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management which has helped him make the step up in his career following his graduation.

He said: “My apprenticeship has been a really good journey. It is something I never thought I would do and originally it felt really daunting but I really enjoyed learning and developing.

“I was a store manager when I started and I really wanted to continue my career progression with Central England Co-operative because I love being part of the organisation and since completing my apprenticeship I have been promoted to be an operations manager.

“If anyone has the possibility to do an apprenticeship or is willing and able to do something different to develop their skills I would say give yourself a chance, give it a go and take the opportunity.”

Sophie Mead, from Derby, utilised the apprenticeship scheme to make her mark in a different field to Gavin and is currently completing a Level 2 Signmaking apprenticeship working in the Society’s display department having previously worked in store.

She said: “I wanted to complete an apprenticeship as I had finished university and wanted to continue learning, while being in a job that can create a career.

“The journey of the apprenticeship has been great. I have learnt multiple new skills and the feedback on my work has been beyond what I had hoped for. I have been treated like one of the team and given the same jobs that they are doing, rather than stereotypical ‘apprentice’ jobs.

“Being in this job I am encouraged to talk to people from all aspects of the business, helping me to build contacts and skills which will help me progress with my career within the business.”

Central England Co-op offer apprenticeships in retail, retail distribution, funeral services and operations, floristry, web design and a range of support centre roles.

Helen Stone, Attraction & Recruitment Manager at Central England Co-op, said: “We have been delighted with the success of our apprenticeship programmes over the last couple of years which has seen an amazing 78 colleagues across the Society complete an apprenticeship and we have a further 52 learners currently on the programme.

“Our apprenticeships programmes are carried out in the workplace, so you’ll be learning ‘on the job’ and gaining hands-on experience with the one-to-one support of your line manager and colleagues, the Learning and Development team and an external assessor.

“What’s more, you’ll earn the full rate of pay for the role you’re training towards – so whether you’re a school leaver taking your first steps into the world of work, or you’re re-training towards a new career path, you’ll be rewarded from day one.”

People can find out more about apprenticeships at Central England Co-op at https://www.cecjobs.coop/Appreticeships


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 

It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.

Central England Co-operative has over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2020.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports several charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing members@centralengland.coop or visiting https://www.members.coop

For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative

Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390

Email –publicrelations@centralengland.coop