Central Co-op to offer debt-free degrees for colleagues and external candidates

The management course will cover modules ranging from communication and business finance to data analysis and decision making

Retail society Central Co-op has launched a debt-free degree programme in conjunction with GetMyFirstJob and Arden University.

The programme, available to internal colleagues and external candidates, will include degree apprenticeships at level 6, with opportunities in retail and the funeral business.

By completing the debt-free chartered manager apprenticeships, colleagues will earn chartered manager, BA and Chartered Management Institute (CMI) leadership qualifications. The course will cover modules ranging from communication and business finance to data analysis and decision making.  

Central is considering offering other level 6 apprenticeships for internal colleagues, including marketing, IT, digital, and commercial.

Earlier this year the society pledged 300 work experience placements in the next year and launched its Adopt a School scheme, which sees stores and funeral homes offer employability initiatives to their local schools, colleges, and universities. Schools or colleges interested in working with the society can contact their local food store or funeral home

Central launched its Funeral Apprenticeship Programme earlier this year, offering people the chance to join the society as a funeral service assistant apprentice, completing a level 2 funeral team member apprenticeship. This is an 18-month programme where apprentices will learn all they need to become a funeral service assistant.

Nicola Thomas, early careers manager, said: “People don’t always think it’s possible to get advanced qualifications like degrees, especially with the cost of living crisis, and at Central Co-op we wanted to make sure that people know they can progress here. It is important for us to foster youth talent, and this is just one of the many ways we’re ensuring that opportunities are open for everyone to grow their skills and pursue career development. We are a caring community, and that extends to those wanting a structured career path with us.” 

Those interested can apply via this link. The first assessment centres in the programmes are due to start in August.