Sector backs plan to cut youth unemployment

Retail co-operatives across the UK have supported a national campaign designed to help young people secure jobs.

Retail co-operatives across the UK have supported a national campaign designed to help young people secure jobs.

Feeding Britain’s Future is led by the retail industry through food and grocery research charity IGD. Last year it helped to provide 10,000 training opportunities to unemployed youth.

Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD said: “The UK food and grocery industry employs 3.7 million people, making us Britain’s biggest private sector employer. With that scale comes responsibility – we have a vital role to play in tackling youth unemployment by sharing our advice and experience.”

The Co-operative Group, which is supporting the initiative, offered more than 3,000 places for young people at 270 workshops in over 80 locations around the UK.

With only one in ten school-leavers taking apprenticeships, the lack of skills is making it harder for them to find jobs. The Group will be hosting sessions for young unemployed people aged 16-24.

At these workshops, they received training in the skills they need to secure jobs. They learned how to write CVs, get introduced to different interview techniques and find out more about career opportunities available in food retail.

Steve Murrells, the Group’s Chief Executive for Retail, said: “As youth unemployment continues to hover around million mark, more needs to be done to improve young people’s skills and boost their employability to help them make the most of the opportunities that are available and, ultimately, get them into work.

“The Co-operative is committed to helping young people get into work, through our Apprenticeship Academy and Graduate Trainee Schemes, so we are delighted to be backing the IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future initiative once again.”

Midlands Co-operative is also involved in the campaign. Throughout September, the society held a series of events in its food stores and funeral homes to provide young people with the skills they need to secure jobs in collaboration with Job Centre Plus.

Referring to the workshop, Jane Firth, Learning and Development Manager at Midlands commented: “Working with our HR team and local jobcentres, I’m looking forward to delivering these workshops to local young people. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn valuable skills in finding, getting and keeping a job whether it’s within our food stores, funeral homes, wider Midlands Co-operative Society, or within their local community.”

Another co-operative supporting the project, Midcounties hosted workshops for the unemployed youth. Two of its food stores in Botley and Church Stretton will be visited by the local MP at one of their workshops.

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