Forget Lord Sugar – Co-op is looking for 2,000 apprentices…and welcome to the Fijit……

June 9, 2011

The Retail Inspector – Barber-Shop

The Co-op announced earlier this week that they will be creating 2,000 apprenticeships over the next three years as it attempts to give young people “proper jobs” with actual career prospects and long-term goals.

The scheme will look to recruit under-25s who will be offered places through a new £9m academy, which will help to equip them with transferable skills and qualifications allowing for a healthier career.

There will be apprentices placed within the main Co-op Group’s businesses ranging from food, pharmacy and farming all the way through to funerals – thought to be a first for the UK.

The qualifications available at the Co-op academy is equivalent towards GCSE’s and A-level standard, depending on the apprentice’s ability, courses last up to two years.

This is all good news, given the current economic climate and struggle for jobs; it offers a promising alternative for those young people who are unable to find work.

Peter Marks, Co-op chief executive, knows better than most what it means to climb the career ladder, he joined the Co-op in the 1960s at the age of 17 and had this to say:

“With youth unemployment hitting the highest rate in nearly 20 years and almost a million 16 to 25 year-olds out of work, it’s really a tough time to be a young person in Britain. We believe businesses have a real responsibility to help motivate and inspire young people by giving them new opportunities to gain the skills, knowledge and experiences to be pioneers for their generation.”

Further to this, the Co-op won’t be neglecting its current under-25 workforce, which makes up a quarter of the 110,000 that work for the company, hoping to make them apprentices in the future as well.

The retail industry is taking good, positive steps in ensuring there are jobs for all, the Co-op join a list of other businesses offering apprenticeships this year, including Morrisons, Superdrug and BT.

And it’s good to see the Government backing such schemes, they have set aside funding for 360,000 places this year, with the figure rising to 400,000 by 2014-15, given that there are almost a million unemployed young people, this is a good start!

In other news…

It looks like it’s going to be the year of the Fijit…

We’ve had Furbys, Tamogotchis and the Rubik’s Cube, but this year, retailers predict that the must-have Christmas product for kids is Fijit.

The foot-high robot which responds to human commands, laughs when tickled, goes to sleep and snores as well as telling knock-knock jokes with 100 set phrases in its repertoire it can chat with you too.

Tesco is so confident that it will be a top seller that it has placed its order early, so watch this space…