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My journey with Co-op started straight after I finished my A-Levels. I’d realised that university wasn’t the only pathway I could take towards my future career. I’m a practical, hands-on learner, and I’ve never really thrived in a classroom setting. I wanted to seek out other opportunities that were more suited to me and my style of learning, and a degree apprenticeship with Co-op proved to be exactly what I was looking for.

A place where you feel valued, and your success is celebrated

When I spotted the ‘Food Industry Technical Professional Degree Apprenticeship’ at Co-op, in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, I jumped at the chance to apply. The opportunity to get four years of experience doing something I’m genuinely passionate about, without the mountain of debt associated with university, was too good to miss out on.

From my very first day in the role, I felt valued, supported and appreciated by my team. And I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made since then. To have my achievements recognised by being named Apprentice of the Year is absolutely amazing! I’m so grateful to my team at Co-op for making this possible.

The opportunities to improve are endless

The ‘Food Industry Technical Professional Degree Apprenticeship’ takes four years to complete. Most of my time is spent in-role, supported by my team of expert colleagues and mentors, with the remainder focused on campus-based studies. I’ve had so many incredible experiences during my apprenticeship. From becoming a Technical Category Manager at the age of 18, to managing a product re-launch and meeting the Minister of Apprenticeships.

There’s also been some challenging moments – trying to balance my studies and my role has been tough at times, but my manager and team have given me the support I needed to overcome these challenges. I’ve also been offered the opportunity to complete numerous training courses relevant to my role and studies, which shows how much Co-op care about my learning and development.

An investment in my future

From my first day at Co-op, I felt like I’d found an employer willing to invest in me and my future. I’ve been encouraged to become the best version of myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone.

If you’re looking for a place where you can build a strong foundation for your future career, then Co-op could be the perfect place for you too...

Caitlin Jones

Assistant Technologist