By Hazel Remeika, Academies Business Partner

I’m extremely happy to congratulate a number of students who’ve completed the Co-op Young Business Leaders programme. 

The students, who joined us from Connell Co-op College, are undertaking a two-year Business BTEC. Whilst on the course, and following a recruitment and selection process, they were successful in gaining a place on the Co-op Young Business Leaders programme. The programme provided a substantial paid work placement, paying in line with the Co-op’s new starter rate.

They’ve now officially completed the programme and I joined the twenty participating trainees at their celebration event at our Support Centre, where they also took part in a skills session, focusing on confidence and motivation – as well as presenting to a number of our business leaders.

It was brilliant to see the trainees being awarded with a certificate and gift for completing the programme by Steve Murrells, Co-op CEO. 

Steve said:

“I’m really proud of all of the Young Business Leaders who have completed this programme. They’ve demonstrated that we must encourage other schools and businesses to rethink support beyond the classroom and to find new ways to offer this generation the stability and prospects they need and deserve. 

“The time is now to help young people with drive, determination and talent to access the opportunities they deserve and to reach their true potential.”

The programme was devised to help young people with fairer opportunities for education and employment, whilst creating new routes to income – which has become more relevant in the wake of the Covid pandemic. During a time when other business stopped offering such opportunities, it’s a fantastic example of our Co-op building on our commitment to co-operate for a fairer world. We hope the initiative will have a real impact on the prospects of local young people and their communities.

Their placement offered a number of rotations across different teams within Co-op Business Services, including Customer Services, Finance, HR and Business Optimisation.

During the placement, the trainees were supported by a mentor, virtually and face to face. They got hands on experience dealing with customers through our call centre and social media channels, whilst also adding input to live business critical projects.

The next cohort of students from Connell College will start working at Co-op as part of the programme in November. Like the previous cohort, the programme will see the trainees work both virtually at home and at our Support Centre.  

If you want to know more, or if you’d like to express interest in becoming a mentor for the next cohort, please contact me.