By Rachael Somerville, Senior Auditor

We work closely with the University of Manchester to provide work experience opportunities and career advice to accounting students. Our partnership with the University began six years ago and is going from strength to strength. 

Each year we offer a four-week paid placement. This has grown from one placement to seven this summer, where students worked across our Internal Audit, Retail and Central Risk, Funeralcare Finance, Central Finance and our Co-op Service Centre (CSC) Finance teams. Students gained valuable experience of audit testing, risk management and various finance activities. 

However, due to coronavirus restrictions, we did things a little bit differently this year. The students mainly completed the placements virtually, joining us via Teams. And one student successfully did this from Malaysia! We were even able to welcome some of the students to visit us in Angel Square.

The students really benefitted from this especially as work experience opportunities have been limited due to the pandemic. Having real-life work experience and learning new skills to add to their CV’s is so important in a challenging and competitive graduate job market. After the placement, it was great to learn that the students described their time with the Co-op as ‘insightful, interesting and diverse’.

Please click the video below to hear some super feedback from the students.

As well as the summer internship, each year we invite all first-year students to an open day where they hear from senior leaders. This helps with one of their modules where they study the Co-op’s business model, values and our work with the wider community. During this event they get to hear from our leaders about their career paths and what it’s like to work in a large, diverse organisation.

This year we’ve also launched a new mentoring initiative, with colleagues providing advice and support to students on their studies and careers. We work closely with the University to help build and develop this partnership and we’ve received great feedback.

“The partnership we have with the Co-op provides incredible opportunities to the undergraduate students at the University of Manchester. Not only do they get the chance to meet the senior leadership but they get to understand what it is like to work in a professional yet friendly environment. I’m extremely grateful for the doors opened to our students and the skills they have gained and I hope this partnership continues for many years to come.”

Jennifer Rose, Programme Director – BSc Accounting, University of Manchester

We look forward to continuing this relationship with the University and creating lots more opportunities for young people in our community. 

If you think your team would be a good fit for an accounting student in the future, please get in touch with Rachael Somerville to see how you can help us continue to grow this partnership.