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Educational first for Tesco
Tesco has had its in-house apprenticeship training scheme accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).
The retailer can now award National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) to those employees on its retail apprenticeship scheme.
"We’re thrilled to be the first UK retailer to have our in-house training accredited in this way," said Clare Chapman, Group HR Director for Tesco. "This is great recognition for our people and the high standards of training they receive while they earn and learn. Keeping the scheme simple, making it relevant and getting it right for staff has taken hard work, but working closely with all our partners has made this happen."
Tesco is committed to developing its apprenticeship scheme and recently announced that it will be creating a further 480 apprenticeship positions across the UK following a successful trial in three stores in February 2004.
Apprentices will earn an NVQ in retail while gathering practical work experience in stores and developing key skills in maths and English.
In a separate move, Tesco will be developing an apprenticeship scheme for post-24 year olds in conjunction with City & Guilds in a trial to get underway in this year. Until now, Government apprenticeships have only been available to those aged 16 to 24.
Apprenticeships at Tesco work by giving apprentices experience of working across different areas of the store - everywhere from customer service to security, to the warehouse. Candidates keep a workbook to document their progress and can attend lectures at a local college to top up their skills. Section and personnel managers check on progress, coach and assess candidates, which is then externally verified by City & Guilds.
Edwina McQueen, head of business development at City & Guilds said, "We demand high standards from our accredited organisations and have been impressed by Tesco’s approach to training and development. The retailer has a real energy and desire to give its people every opportunity to get on, and we are delighted to have supported the initiative. City & Guilds has a wide range of services for all types of employers and we hope that more of them will follow Tesco’s lead."
Stephen Gardener, director of work-based learning at the Learning and Skills Council, said "Tesco has demonstrated its leadership by extending its apprenticeship programme and its commitment to skills development. Apprenticeships benefit businesses as well as young people and we urge other employers to follow Tesco’s lead."
The value of apprenticeships was confirmed by Luke Albutt, aged 18, who started as a general assistant at his local Tesco Solihull store and has consequently risen to team leader in the Price team responsible for making price changes in store which come from head office.
"Apprenticeships are a great way to progress,’ said Luke. "I left school with no qualifications but now have a career in retail ahead of me. I feel really valued, have plenty of responsibility and there are lots of opportunities to move up."
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