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I've been part of the Co-op resourcing team for 10 years. Right now, we're getting more applications for jobs at Co-op than ever before. And every day we speak to great people who are struggling to find their next role because the jobs market is so challenging at the moment.  

Our vision at Co-op is to 'co-operate for a fairer world'. But we know unemployment is one of the biggest causes of inequality in our communities. So, we’ve created the Co-op Career Development Hub to help people develop the skills they need to secure their next job. 

Tough times for job seekers 

The UK unemployment rate is at its highest level for 3 years, and set to rise in 2021 as more organisations announce redundancies due to the pandemic. Reduced demand in the economy means fewer jobs are created, resulting in lower numbers of job vacancies. High unemployment combined with fewer vacancies creates a labour glut – that is a large number of people competing for a smaller number of jobs. 

Since the pandemic began a year ago, we've seen job applications increase significantly. And even though we're still recruiting all over the UK, we've been declining candidates in record numbers. Many of the people we decline would be great for our business – we just don't have a vacancy for them. 

Living up to our values 

We think that during these difficult times, Co-op should be doing more for job seekers than politely telling them ‘thanks, but no thanks’.  We always try to provide feedback to anyone who attends an interview, but many people unfortunately don't make it that far.  

We decided to build an online platform to support unsuccessful candidates with the development of 'employability' skills.  

The Co-op Career Development Hub 

We worked with an established Co-op partner – Omni RPO – to create the hub. It contains thousands of resources to help job seekers to tackle the most common career obstacles. And as a mobile first platform it allows users to access these tools on any device, making it accessible for people without PC’s or laptops at home. Some of the features on the hub include: 

  • ‘Career Pulse’ diagnostic tool which provides users with a personalised employability programme based on their confidence and ability 
  • Interactive career profiling and career assessment tools that help users to think about career possibilities based on their motivations and strengths  
  • CV planning and advice including a full CV building and assessment tool that reviews a user's CV against 58 criteria  
  • Cover letter and elevator pitch builder –perfect for developing a LinkedIn profile or making direct applications  
  • Video and telephone interview simulators  
  • Online psychometrics and aptitude practice tests 

Supporting people when they need it most 

We've had great feedback since we launched the hub in January. But we've also heard from a number of users who told us it would've been great to have had access to the hub during their Co-op job application.  

We've listened to this feedback, and now the Co-op Career Development Hub is available to everyone (even if you decide not to apply for a job at Co-op at all). 

You can sign up for one month's free access here. We hope the Career Development Hub helps you with your job search. 

Matt Eyre, 

Candidate Marketing Manager