Central Co-op champions the next generation

Posted by lauryn mellor | Published: 26/06/2024

Central Co-op is re-pledging its investment in young people during Co-op Fortnight, taking place from the 24th of June to 7th of July. The Society prioritises early career paths and has recently launched an Under 25 colleague network, helping to create a Society where young colleagues can amplify their voice and thrive.

A YouGov poll revealed that two out of three 16 to 25-year-olds feel there are not enough good jobs for young people, and according to Co-operatives UK, young people today face significant challenges such as mental health concerns, job security, career prospects and climate change. Co-operatives offer solutions to these issues by providing ethical employment and ensuring young people have a real say in their working lives.

Central Co-op is thrilled to pledge 300 work experience placements this year, supporting a further 1,500 students in employability workshops through its “adopt a school” programme. Local store managers will collaborate with schools and colleges, offering work experience opportunities throughout the year for students in years 10 and 11, those on college or university courses, and adults seeking to retrain. These placements, available in Central Co-op’s food stores, funeral homes or at its Support Centre in Lichfield, provide participants with valuable insights into various roles within Central Co-op. To ensure they are well-supported, participants will receive a complimentary meal deal during their experience.

The Society also provides structured and successful early career programmes and apprenticeships at all levels, supporting young people to progress through Central Co-op’s “Difference Maker Academy”.

Sarah Dickins, Chief Customer, Member and People Officer at Central Co-op and Executive sponsor of the Under 25s colleague network, commented: “At Central Co-op, we recognise that young people in our communities are our difference makers. We believe that nurturing young talent is not just an investment into their future, but the future of our communities as well. Co-op Fortnight is the perfect occasion to celebrate and demonstrate the positive impact co-operatives can have on young people, helping them to create a fairer and more sustainable Society for all. This year we’re looking to expand our entry level programmes to include school and college leavers - so watch this space!”

Co-operatives are unique, democratic businesses driven by a purpose beyond profit. They share power and wealth across the economy, influencing various industries and sectors. This Co-op Fortnight, Central Co-op is proud to highlight how co-ops can positively impact young people and empower them to shape a fairer future.

Co-operatives are prevalent in countries like The Netherlands, Finland and France, which rank high in child wellbeing and happiness. However, awareness of the co-operative model remains low among young people in the UK. Central Co-op is determined to promote the concept of co-operatives, showcasing how they offer a fair and ethical approach to work, living and shopping.

Co-op Fortnight’s annual celebration sees hundreds of co-ops and organisations across the UK come together to promote the co-operative movement. This year, the Society is also commemorating the 180th anniversary of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, the world's first successful consumer retail co-operative, whose principles laid the groundwork for modern co-operatives globally.

For more information on Central Co-op’s early careers, visit careers.coop/ or find out more on socials. Details on becoming a Member can be found on Members.coop.


For press information
Press Office

Lauryn Mellor, PR and Media Specialist at Central Co-op
07385 048004