East Anglia : The region’s largest independent retailer, the East of England Co-op, has announced it is launching an apprenticeship scheme across East Anglia to help develop and retain local talent.
The move follows a successful pilot scheme where 18 apprentices have been taken on over the past year.
Apprenticeships are being reformed with the aim of making them a viable alternative to going to university. They have been simplified to improve the quality and quantity while also providing greater autonomy to the employers themselves, enabling them to focus on the exact skills and knowledge required for the workforce of the future.
It is a shift that the East of England Co-op is taking advantage of. With a wide ranging family of businesses and 200 branches across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, the organization says it has opportunities for people to ‘earn while they learn’, through apprenticeships in a number of areas from food retail and funeral services, to stone masonry.
Head of learning and development Stephen Flurrie said: “We want retail to be seen as somewhere you can start a successful career. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to build confidence, learn new skills and obtain qualifications all whilst earning a wage.
“At the East of England Co-op we’ve designed our apprenticeships to allow people to move up or move on into other areas of our business on completion of their apprenticeship, opening a vast number of doors and opportunities.”
Apprenticeships are available to anyone aged from 16-64, and so are an opportunity for those looking for a potential career change too.
From May 2017 the way apprenticeships are funded will change. The Government is introducing a new levy, which will see employers with an annual pay bill of over £3million contribute to a central pot that will support the creation of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
Stephen added: “East Anglia is a unique and vibrant place to live and work in. By attracting, developing and maintaining local talent now, we hope to have a highly skilled, well-motivated workforce for the future, both as a business and a region.”
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