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I came to the UK from Venezuela in 2000, and until recently, I was a self-employed Spanish teacher, teaching in two nurseriesProfessionally, the pandemic changed everything for me. I found myself unemployed for the first time since becoming a parent, as I had nowhere to safely teach my classes. I knew that all the supermarkets needed help because they were so busy during lockdown, so I applied to join my local Co-op as their community spirit stood out. 

My new role at Co-op 

My first day on the job was busy – it amazed me how fast-paced retail is! I was paired with a colleague and trained on stock replenishment and the tills. The main challenge for me was remembering all I’d learned about working in-store. There are so many different tasks – but your colleagues are on hand to help familiarise you with all the things you need to know 

One thing I love about working at the Co-op is being part of a team that is very friendly and supportive. Working as a self-employed teacher for the past 10 years, I was used to working on my own, so it’s a huge change for me. However, the daily interactions witcolleagues and customers have been a positive change for me 

Looking to the future 

I was so grateful when I was offered a permanent role at Co-op, as I’m enjoying the job so muchAfter over 20 years of teaching, Im happy to try something new. Circumstances beyond my control have forced me to change my career path, but I am looking at this as a great opportunity to explore a career in retail. My future at the Co-op will involve a lot more learning as I plan to push myself to develop in my new role.  

Peggy Pantoja,  

Customer Team Member 


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