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Lakota's Story

My quick progression through on the job learning 

I started with the Co-op four years ago, when I was 17 years old, with little in the way of qualifications and no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. My Grandad, who works as a Store Manager, always spoke highly of the Co-op so I applied for a role as a Customer Team Member.  

Customer Team Member to Store Manager in four years 

I quickly settled into life at the Co-op. It was easy for me to see that this could be the place where I could make something of myself. Within the first couple of months I began working towards a Team Leader position. This was just the start of my journey with the Co-op. At 21 years old, and after four years, I graduated from my apprenticeship in October last year, and I’m now a Store Manager of a Store of Excellence.  

Co-op is a brilliant place to advance your career. There are lots of different options for colleagues who join as Customer Team Members, from retail and business management degree apprenticeships to Co-op’s internal development program ‘Boost’.  

Challenges have been opportunities to grow  

 Leading a Store of Excellence is an amazing opportunity and I have faced challenges, but it’s all been part of my learning and a chance to develop my skills. One of my biggest challenges was when I was a Team Leader and Team Manager and I juggled completing my level 3 apprenticeship with store work and ensuring I was still maintaining excellence day to day. 

Fun along the way 

A highlight from my time at Co-op was during my apprenticeship. I was involved in our apprentice summer sporting challenge during the World Cup 2018.  Our team became fantastic friends and progressed through to the final presentation of the challenge, where my role was to make the panel of judges a summery cocktail out of our Irresistible Malbec! Our team ended up as joint winners, and of course, we celebrated for all our good work! 

I am so proud of what I have achieved in such a short space of time at the Co-op and can’t wait to see what the next four years bring. 

Lakota Penny,

Store Manager 

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