Central Co-op Offering 300 Work Experience Placements in the Next Year

Posted by sam bishop | Published: 10/03/2023

With National Careers Week in full swing, Central Co-op has revealed a whole host of ways it is supporting those looking to start a career. Central Co-op is giving young people the chance to thrive in the Society, offering 300 work experience placements in the next 12 months and supporting a further 1,500 students as part of the ‘Adopt a School’ programme. 

Central Co-op's new careers site provides plenty of resources for those interested in a career with the Society, including a new ‘early careers’ page showing how young people can access work experience, direct entry recruitment, and apprenticeships.  

At a local level Central Co-op is supporting a scheme called ‘Adopt a School’, through which stores and funeral homes can support their local schools, colleges, and universities by offering employability initiatives, building on the existing community links at the heart of the Society. To trial some of these initiatives, earlier this year Central Co-op's Member & Community Relations Officers, Careers team, and representatives from its funeral and retail teams visited Maplewell Hall School in Loughborough to discuss careers and inform young people about the Society. 

A toolkit for the scheme has been launched this week to provide resources for leaders across the Society, helping them to plan and deliver employability initiatives that range from careers workshops, CV, and interview workshops to work experience placements, mock interviews, and careers fair events. 

Last year Central Co-op launched Co-op Generation, an online forum to engage with young people between 18-25 and harness their views and opinions to help guide future strategies and how Central Co-op can support and attract young people through meaningful Membership. During National Careers Week, Central Co-op hosted a free careers session within this forum to provide guidance on the skills, behaviours, and cultural values that are important for applications.  

Nicola Thomas, Early Careers Manager, said: “Supporting young people is at the heart of our culture. We recognise the need to invest in young people as they play a big part in our future success.” 

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on the amount of interaction young people have with employers, so we want to provide opportunities to develop their understanding of careers, and give them real-life, practical opportunities to develop their employability skills to set them up for success ahead of entering the world of work.” 

Central Co-op is also dedicated to furthering the careers of those within the Society, offering a range of apprenticeship programmes for colleagues wanting to develop and learn new skills. Colleagues can study an apprenticeship in a wide range of subject areas, from job specific (such as accountancy or business administration) through to leadership development (such as Team Leader or Operational Manager Academies). 

Recent investment in a new online learning system allows colleagues to broaden their skills within the Society as well, including modules on leadership, presentation skills, coaching, and more. Two of the values Co-operatives are based on are self-help and self-responsibility, which is why the Society empowers colleagues to invest in themselves and their careers supported by the Society’s people culture.  

Events like webinars on personal development for International Women’s Week also enable colleagues to make the most of their potential, along with our partnerships like Diversity in Retail, providing further access to development progress and webinar sessions. Furthermore, the Society provides colleagues with three paid volunteering days per year which provides opportunities to make a difference, a sense of achievement and valuable experiences. 

FFor further details, head to the Central Co-op website, Facebook, and Twitter. Details on becoming a Member can be found on the Membership site

About Central Co-op 

Central Co-op is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK, with a heritage stretching back over 175 years and interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.  

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,700 colleagues serve customers across 440 plus trading sites in 21 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.   

Its purpose is to create a sustainable Society for all.    

It actively campaigns for food justice and works with FareShare Midlands and a network of local food banks. It also adds £1 to every Healthy Start Voucher redeemed in store and supports six schools in partnership with Magic Breakfasts.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter. The Society is also a member of Diversity in Retail and it is fully committed to addressing the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon and food waste, increasing recycling and investment in community Sustainable Spaces funded by the carrier bag levy. It recently launched its Malawi Partnership to support farmers and producers in the country through the Co-operative International Trading Development Fund.  

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £109,769.25 shared out between 121 good causes in 2022. 

Press office contact: Sam Bishop, PR Specialist  

Contact details:   


07385 048048