By Hazel Remeika, Academies Business Partner
In November I was delighted to welcome our second cohort of 18 students from Connell College, as our Co-op Young Business Leaders (CYBL) programme made its return.
Our trainees are currently studying a two-year Business BTEC qualification. During their final year, they complete placements across different teams within Co-op Business Services, CMCO and Co-op Technology. With a wider range of teams involved this time round, our trainees will spend time learning first-hand about the different business functions along with receiving additional knowledge and support from their mentors.
Here’s what two of our trainees told us about their experiences so far.
Remell Bell’s story
CYBL’s a great stepping stone for young people, as opportunities don’t easily become available. If I didn’t get involved, I’d have felt I was doing myself an injustice, this was perfect for my personal growth.
So far, I’ve worked with the Business Optimisation Team on strategy. This involves using specific tools to automate and improve processes, creating benefits for the whole organisation. As a strategist, I thoroughly enjoy working in this field with like-minded colleagues and the knowledge I’ve gained has been outstanding.
By seeing and understanding how we engage with internal and external stakeholders, I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned by including it in my coursework. This was a real personal success for me.
I’ve improved my interpersonal skills by bonding well with my team and have a lot of respect for them. I’ve learned teamwork is vital as being there for each other is how we all collectively achieve success.
I honestly can’t choose just one standout moment from my time so far. Being part of CYBL has solidified my understanding of why Co-op is so successful as I saw our values and principles being shown daily. These are known externally as a unique selling point, so it was good to see this in practice internally. I hope to gain as much knowledge as I can from Co-op as our style of business is so unique compared to competitors. I’d enjoy getting involved in any projects or further work experience as Co-op continues to facilitate opportunities for many young business leaders.
Omid Sharif’s story
I wanted to get involved with CYBL as it offers a great opportunity to develop my future career. I’ve always seen Co-op as a valuable business in the market and it’s been a dream of mine to work here.
During my first placement, I’ve had plenty of variety through working with the Payroll and HR teams. I’ve learned lots, not to mention the experience I’ve gained from being introduced to the office environment.
As this was my first time working in an office, initially I found adapting to the environment difficult, but I’m really pleased with the support I received. The induction covered everything possible and everyone was so helpful and supportive to me which meant I overcame this challenge quickly.
I’ve noticed a real benefit of meeting different people and working in different teams. Seeing for myself how effective it is to collaborate has inspired me to keep building my teamwork skills. But without a doubt, the biggest positive I’ve taken from CYBL so far is a huge increase in my confidence levels. This has been invaluable to me and I’m sure will help me progress in my future career.
My standout moment was the presentation I had to do at the end of my placement, which summarised my time at Co-op so far. For the rest of the programme, I want to continue to perform to the best of my ability and increase my skillset.
Find out more
It’s great to hear directly from our trainees and to see how valuable this programme is in helping to shape their future career paths. We’re confident this mix of learning and on the job experience is the right combination to develop the trainee’s employability both during and beyond the programme; ultimately helping them stand out from the crowd.
If you want to know more, or to become a mentor to our trainees, please contact me and I hope you’ll join me in wishing our newest colleagues the best of luck as they take their first steps on the career ladder.