Taking the fast track
I started off working at Co-op on Saturdays, while I was doing my A-levels. After I settled in and knew my way around the store, I was offered a place on Co-op’s fast-track management course. I wasn’t really interested in university or further education, and I wanted to start earning straight away. This was the opportunity I needed to kick-start my career and reach my goals.
Becoming a leader
Team Leaders often progress to become Store Managers, so part of my job as an Area Manager is to spot talent, spend time with leaders who are interested in progressing, and help people develop their skills. As a Team Leader, your main priority is to look after, care for, and lead the team you work with – it’s a colleague and customer focused role at heart. On top of that, you’ll gain lots of experience in stock management, waste management, cash management, community projects and much, much more. It’s a great job, and it really helps you prepare for a full-on management role.
What it’s like to work at Co-op
Co-op prefers to guide Team Leaders rather than tell them what to do, which gives teams more autonomy and freedom. Lots of people on Co-op’s training programmes are shocked at how ‘un-corporate’ the workplace feels compared to other big name retailers. There’s a strong, supportive culture here at Co-op, and every colleague is proud to be a part of it. One of the company’s mantras is “be yourself always”, and I think they truly live by that. Co-op makes a huge effort to build diverse teams where people think differently, and that’s what makes the business so amazing.
A company that cares
In a nutshell, Co-op’s vision is to cooperate and create a fairer world, and that’s something I’ve always felt strongly about. You can see that vision in all the wonderful things the company does to support local communities, from working with Marcus Rashford to help end child food poverty to tackling waste with local councils, building bus stops on the Isle of Skye, and even the Fairtrade campaign the business started back in the 1970s. Co-op is a business that cares more about people than profits, and if that’s something you care about, then it’s a really amazing place to work.