By Danny Matthews, Apprentice and Community Resourcing Manager

Actively being involved in our local communities is important to us, along with offering opportunities where we can. One way to achieve this is to help young people who are taking on the daunting task of exploring the world of work for the first time, and making decisions that can impact their futures.

We’ve partnered with the Transformation Trust, a charity that specialises in memorable experiences combining education, inspiration and motivation to children. For the fourth consecutive year, we recently attended their high profile summer event – Rock Assembly.

Rock Assembly is a full day event attended by approx. 10,000 students from all over the country. Located just outside Wembley arena, it consists of an outdoor careers fair in the morning, followed by a music concert in the afternoon.

There are lots of factors involved in career decision making for students including: engaging work, salary, working environment and development opportunities. Trends suggest the way in which a business operates and it’s ethical values are a significant factor, and are now ahead of salaries as a priority.

With so many students attending Rock Assembly, the event is a perfect opportunity to reach a new audience who are being introduced to Co-op firstly as an organisation with values that match theirs, followed by learning about Co-op as a potential future employer with apprenticeship opportunities available to them.

As a range of companies were in attendance including Sky, the NHS and the Armed Forces, it was important to make sure we engaged with the students in a unique way. To capture their attention, we chose not to have a traditional stand with information, instead we took our Co-op ice cream van.

Members of the resourcing team, alongside colleagues and apprentices from around the business were available to chat to students as they queued up for a sweet treat. We shared lots of information around our Fairtrade commitment, our great work on reducing single use plastics and the incredible support we provide to communities both in the UK and overseas. Details were also available about a variety of our departments including Food stores, Funeralcare, Logistics, Property, Legal and Digital.

Students were encouraged to explore our online content further, not just for our employment opportunities, but to also discover more about the great work we do within the communities we serve. By showing the link between our ‘ways of being’ and how they can become a part of it in the future, it helped us to leave a real lasting impression.

Although Rock Assembly is primarily aimed at students, apprenticeships are open for everyone regardless of background or age. If you’d like to find out more about our programmes, visit