Two young people from Bristol have joined the UK’s most diverse Apprenticeship Academy as the first ever apprentices at the Bristol-based Co-operative Legal Services.
Seventeen year old Rochelle Waldron, from Patchway, and 22 year old Jay Belton, from Downend, are about to begin the assessment, training and development phase of their apprenticeship in Business Administration after having successfully completed their probation with the Personal Injury Support Team at The Co-operative’s Legal Services business in Almondsbury.
During the next 12 months, in addition to providing administrative support and assisting in the progression of customers’ personal injury claims, Jay and Rochelle will be assessed on a monthly basis by an external assessor until they have shown full competence across all of the National Standards to give them a Level 2 qualification, which is the equivalent to 5 GCSE’s A* – C.
Jay and Rochelle are two of 2,000 young apprentices being taken on by The Co-operative right across its family of businesses, ranging from food, pharmacy and motors to financial services and farming, as well as many corporate functions such as IT and the UK’s first ever funeral industry apprentices.
Launched in June, The Co-operative’s £9 million Apprenticeship Academy will offer young people transferrable skills, competitive salaries and qualifications – not just a job. It is The Co-operative’s vision that eventually all new recruits under 25 will be part of the Academy.
The Co-operative Apprenticeship Academy forms a major part of the Group’s £30million drive to inspire young people and support their future life goals and ambitions and is a key element of The Co-operative’s revolutionary new ethical plan.
Lloyd Thomas, Group Apprenticeship Manager for The Co-operative Group, said: “Jay and Rochelle have just passed their probation with us and will now start the assessment, training and development phase of their apprenticeship in Business Administration. They are already fully functioning members of the support team and, once they have completed their qualification, they will continue to develop their skills within this team as well as looking for progression opportunities within the wider company should they so choose.
“They are the first apprenticeships to be offered by The Co-operative Legal Services and with the success and enthusiasm shown by both Jay and Rochelle we are looking to expand our apprenticeship offering to other areas of the legal services business and possibly to other qualifications in 2012.”
Opportunities within The Co-operative’s Apprenticeship Academy are available right across the UK and apprentices will work towards a nationally recognised qualification and will have the opportunity to progress onto the Group’s Management Development Programme. Apprentices will also gain a range of transferable skills and professional competences, helping them to progress up the career ladder.
Launching The Co-operative’s Apprenticeship Academy in June, Group Chief Executive Peter Marks, 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.
“Back in the 1960’s, at the age of 17, I got my first job at my local co-op store and today, 43 years later, I am running what has now become the largest consumer-owned Co-operative in the world.
“Through our new Apprenticeship Academy, we are offering young people across the UK proper jobs with qualifications and real career opportunities. With a quarter of our employees under the age of 25, eventually we want to make them all apprentices and I would encourage other big businesses to follow suit.”
The Co-operative Apprenticeship Academy offers apprentices:
- the opportunity to work towards a nationally recognised qualification
- the prospect of joining the Management Development Programme
- the chance to learn about co-operation via an inter-active web-based training course. The course will cover such topics as the co-operative model for conducting business and its values and principles
- an introduction to the Co-operative’s Social Goals programme and learn how its campaigning work can make a difference to individuals and communities
- the opportunity to become members of the co-operative and enjoy the benefits of membership including staff dividend
For more information or to view the Apprentices currently available, visit www.co-operative.jobs
Notes to Editors:
The Co-operative Group is one of the UK’s leading businesses with an annual turnover of £14bn and is the world’s largest consumer owned co-operative. The Group is the fifth biggest food retailer and the leading convenience store operator and The Co-operative Financial Services runs the largest financial “super mutual”. Other interests include the third largest retail pharmacy chain, the number one funeral services business, Britain’s biggest farmer and a leading travel agency.
The Co-operative Group has around 6.5 million members. As well as delivering on its financial and operational goals, The Co-operative Group aims to deliver on its social goals, playing an active part supporting local communities and the wider world.
In February 2011, The Co-operative Group set a new benchmark for corporate sustainability in the UK, with the launch of its revolutionary new Ethical Plan, which will support its aim to have 20 million members during this decade and boost the move to a more environmentally sound and just UK economy.
Among the groundbreaking pledges in The Co-operative’s new Ethical Plan is to bring about a cultural shift in youth perception and provide new opportunities for young people through a £30m programme that will support an Apprenticeship Academy, a Green Schools programme and the creation of 200 Co-operative Schools by 2013.
In total there are 47 distinct targets within The Co-operative’s Ethical Plan, which will be reported on each year within The Group’s sustainability report, a globally recognised leader in terms of transparency, materiality and independent audit.
For more information contact:
Senior PR Officer
0161 827 5629