Co-op Funeralcare has been awarded a Princess Royal Training Award for its apprenticeship programme.
The Co-op Group’s funeral provider opened its doors to apprentices in 2013 and had since seen around 500 people join each year.
Only 40 organisations have received a Princess Royal Training Award, which recognises the value of training and employee development and celebrates best practice. It acknowledges the inclusivity of the apprenticeship programme and its instrumental role in the creation of national occupational standards for the funeral sector.
Co-op Funeralcare, the only national funeral provider to offer a funeral apprenticeship, took on its 2,000th apprentice in July. The scheme has attracted a diverse range of applicants over the past four years, of all ages and from all walks of life. From classical musicians to plumbers and police officers, Funeralcare is often the choice for those wanting a new and rewarding challenge.
Steve Jones, head of HR for Funeralcare, said: “It’s great to see that we’re being recognised for the work that goes into the training and development of our apprentices and we’re thrilled to be presented with a Princess Royal Training Award.
“Our intention has always been to provide people from all walks of life with the opportunity to develop a worthwhile career in funerals. Provided they possess compassion, empathy, excellent service and organisational skills, we can teach everything else on the job.”
Chris Jones, chief executive of the City & Guilds Group, said: ‘‘It’s fantastic to celebrate the second annual Princess Royal Training Awards and to commend Co-op Funeralcare. It has never been more important for Britain’s businesses to invest in training to boost their productivity, address skills gaps and develop their leaders.
“I congratulate Co-op Funeralcare, who presented examples of the innovative, inspiring and impactful training that’s taking place across the UK today. They are truly worthy recipients of this rigorously assessed royal award, and we are delighted to be able to honour their achievements through the Princess Royal Training Awards.”
Funeralcare’s 2,000th apprentice, Ryan Coombes said: “Joining Co-op Funeralcare was the best decision I’ve made. I’ve learnt so much already and within just three months as an apprentice, I was promoted to a full-time funeral services operative.
“It’s so rewarding to be part of something so important to the community, helping people through a tough time. As I look to the future, I can’t wait to develop my career with Co-op Funeralcare, working towards my goal of becoming a funeral director.”