Did you know that Co-op Food is planning to recruit apprentices across the UK this year, and many of these opportunities will be offered to Co-op colleagues who want to learn while they work with the support of the business.

Last year I started an apprenticeship, here’s how my year has been.

My apprenticeship has made a difference to me by:

Making me think differently, setting my sights higher and giving me confidence. It’s given me skills that I’m already using in day-to-day life. I’m 47 years old, I did my A Levels some time ago and then chose to work in retail, but I never experienced the opportunity to go back into academia. Everything is funded, which is a massive benefit and you’re hugely supported by the business. It’s opened up a whole new world that I didn’t expect would ever be available to me.

The most important skill I’ve learnt is:

The ability to have a greater depth of understanding. On the programme I’ve learned lots about how organisations and businesses are run and it’s provided me with tools that have helped me learn more about myself. I’ve seen huge improvements in my communication and writing techniques and I’m now able to think more broadly because of it, and join up the dots to see a bigger picture.

What I want to do next is:

Develop my career further and look at moving into an Executive support role. I’ve learned so much about myself this year and my career aspirations have changed dramatically since I started the programme. The next stage in my course is all around leadership, so you never know, I may change my aspirations again as I learn more about myself and this organisation.

The most challenging part of the course has been:

Time away from home and the balance of academic work with your day job. It does take some getting used to if you’re not prepared, but it’s fantastic! A degree at work puts you in an amazing place. I have a vision of the person I’ll be coming out the other side as being quite different to the one who started.

The advice I would give to someone considering an apprenticeship is:

Understand the requirements of the apprenticeship programme before you start – it’s not right for everyone. Make sure you talk to the right people in order to fully understand what’s required of you.

“You have to have drive and aspiration.”

It’s this that keeps you going when you’re working to complete deadlines.

Jeremy Groves
PA to Divisional Managing Director

If you’re a retail colleague and you’re interested in applying for the current Degree Level apprenticeship, applications are now open, and will be closing on 2nd July.

Applications for the Level 3 retail programme will be opening on Monday 9th July. The Level 2 retail programme will launch towards the end of July.

To apply or find out more about the current degree level programme, click here. 

If you have any questions about our apprenticeships and which level is right for you, contact the team by emailing apprentice.jobs@coop.co.uk.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Jeremy. The apprenticeship degree sounds like a great way to further your development – I know it is tough meeting all the deadlines but it has sounded a brilliant experience!

  2. A truly inspiring story of our journey on the degree program, and put across very well.

    Developing yourself unlocks a successful career. Understanding how to, is the key.

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