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I joined Co-op as a Customer Team Member (CTM) in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic. Prior to this, I’d worked in the hospitality industry for three years, in bars, nightclubs, pubs, restaurants and stadiums. I’d never worked in retail before, but I read about the Co-op and learned that even with no experience, I’d be considered for the role and supported to develop my career in retail.  

Recognising my potential 

After a month at Co-op, I was approached by my manager who said he was impressed by how quickly I’d got up to speed in my new job. He told me he thought I could be a team leader one day, and asked if it was something I’d be interested in. At this point we were right in the thick of the pandemic, and although work was tough in some ways, it felt like we were providing a vital service to our community. I was enjoying my role, so it seemed like a no-brainer to try and take the next step in my career at Co-op. I agreed with my manager that we would work together to gradually develop me for a new team leader role. 

The road to success 

After 6 months in my CTM role I was well into my team leader training. A big part of this was my ‘5 Team Leader Experiences’ – these were tasks that required me to identify and solve a problem in my store, and then assess another store in my region to identify potential improvements. I also attended the CTM to Team Leader Boost Programme, which is a formal development course designed to teach the skills needed for a team leader job. For the final part of my training, I had four weeks of running shifts in store by myself. My progress was assessed by my Area Manager and Store Manager. After running the shifts, I was successfully promoted to Team Leader in January. 

Looking to the future 

I’ve enjoyed my time as a team leader so far, but I’m always looking for ways to adapt and improve, and I’m thinking about my next step forward in the business. The next step up from team leader is the store manager role, and recently I’ve been talking to my manager about what I need to learn to continue my career progression. I feel lucky to have found an employer that invests in me to help me achieve my goals. 

Curtley Stevens, 

Customer Team Leader 

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