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After 4 years working as a professional Astronomer, I started to look for a role in the private sector. Scrolling through job sites was a little overwhelming, but Co-op really stood out, and I loved the company’s focus on giving back to the community.

Investing in people

My favourite thing about working at Co-op is that personal development is actively encouraged. From the moment I was hired, it was clear the business was willing to invest in me. I knew next to nothing about retail or business, but I was invited to bring my unique bundle of skills as a Physicist and Science Communicator and to learn and grow on-the-job.

Since day one, I’ve always felt like a valued member of the Co-op team, not just a number-crunching coder. We have regular 1-to-1 sessions with our line managers to chat about how we’re doing, identify opportunities to grow, and get feedback on our work.

Empowering women

One of the best experiences I’ve had since joining Co-op was volunteering for InnovateHer. InnovateHer is a local education group working to challenge stereotypes and improve diversity in tech. They run after-school digital training for young girls, and in 2019 I was lucky enough to co-lead an 8-week course at a school in Liverpool.

Acting as a mentor was so rewarding. Week-on-week I watched the girls’ confidence grow, and I always came away from our sessions feeling inspired by their enthusiasm. My managers were really supportive, and they helped me flex my hours around volunteering by letting me work from home. Co-op has been an official partner of InnovateHer since 2017, and I’m proud to work for an organisation that’s so passionate about diversity.

Learning and growing

Here at Co-op, there’s a great culture of collaboration, and we’re always encouraged to push the limits of our knowledge. Every week our team has “Techie Time”, which is our chance to share anything new we’ve learnt. Sometimes it’ll be a short presentation about a new piece of software, and other times we’ll have a Q&A session with an expert.

There are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow outside of work too. Like Leadfest, a “festival of learning” with workshops, talks, and podcasts – something I look forward to every summer. On top of that, you’ll have the chance to take courses and gain professional qualifications, which is something I’m looking to get into this year.

Dr Helen Johnson

Data Scientist,

Data & Loyalty

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