Good news: Co-op launches apprenticeship scheme

First announced in 2010, the Co-operative Group’s apprenticeship academy that aims to provide 2,000 jobs to young people over the next three years is now under way.

Group chief executive Peter Marks with apprentices Luke Watson (left) and Tim Cleaver 

CYPNow reports that the £9m academy will have places covering the Group’s range of businesses, including food, pharmacy, legal and financial services, farming, funeral services and IT support. 

Opportunities are available across the UK and apprentices will work towards a nationally recognised qualification with the opportunity to enter the Group’s Management Development Programme. 

Group chief executive Peter Marks started working for the firm in his local Co-op store at the age of 17 in the 1960s. He said: “With youth unemployment hitting the highest rate in nearly 20 years and almost one million 16- to 25-year-olds out of work, it’s a really tough time to be a young person in Britain.

“We believe businesses have a real responsibility to help motivate and inspire young people by giving them new opportunities to gain the skills, knowledge and experiences to be pioneers for their generation.”

The Shropshire Star focussed on government support and commitment to apprenticeships:

Skills minister John Hayes said: “I warmly congratulate The Co-operative Group for making this investment in the skills, future prospects and professional development of its people. 

“Every apprenticeship is a real job, designed and delivered in partnership with employers. That is why the apprenticeships programme is the core of a strengthened system of education, training and employment support to help young people get work and build successful careers. 

“Funding is in place to support some 360,000 apprenticeships this year alone, and by the end of this Parliament, my aim is to deliver the greatest number of apprenticeships in this country’s history.” 

A CYPNow comment:  

Joseph Lonsdale wrote, “Lets hear it for the socially responsible Co-operative Society. Glad to see they are still living up their ideals”. 

Many will hope that once again, as in the 1960s, apprenticeships will become the norm.

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