BTEC students complete first-of-its-kind programme offering a paid work placement

BTEC students complete first-of-its-kind programme offering a paid work placement

  • Students from Co-op Connell college in inner-city Manchester have completed the Young Business Leaders programme
  • The programme offered students a substantial paid work placement, paying in line with the Co-op’s new starter rate
  • CEO Steve Murrells has encouraged other businesses and colleges to innovate as young people need certainty following lockdown

Students from Co-op Connell College in inner-city Manchester have officially completed an innovative new Young Business Leaders programme. The one-of-a-kind two-year BTEC course offers participating business trainees a substantial paid work placement, paying in line with the Co-op’s new starter rate.

On Friday (2nd July), the twenty participating trainees enjoyed a celebration event at Co-op’s One Angel Square site in Manchester, as well as a skills session, focusing on confidence and motivation.

The trainees met with Co-op CEO, Steve Murrells, and were awarded with a certificate and gift for completing the programme.

The programme was devised to help young people level up and create new routes to income during the uncertainty of the pandemic. The Co-op hopes the initiative will have a real impact on the prospects of local young people and their communities.

The students originally followed a formal application and interview process, following the Co-op’s own standard recruitment process. To qualify, they need to demonstrate good attendance and strong attitude to learning.

Their placement offered a number of rotations across different disciplines based within Co-op Business Services, including customer services, Finance, HR and Business Optimisation.

During the placement, the trainees are supported by a mentor, virtually and face to face. They get hands on experience dealing with customers through Co-op’s call centre and social media channels, whilst also adding input to live business critical projects.

The next cohort of students from Connell College will start working at Co-op as part of the programme in November. Like the previous cohort, the programme will see the trainees work both virtually at home and in Co-op’s head office, One Angel Square.

Co-op Academies Trust CEO, Chris Tomlinson, said: “Through this programme, students have had the opportunity to join a business and become involved in work and projects. It adds real value, transferring their skills from the classroom into live situations and it’s helped their learning come to life. A huge thank you to the Co-op for delivering this unique opportunity for our students.

“Helping to set them apart, as the job market becomes more competitive, we’re also actively engaging students to consider apprenticeships – especially within the Co-op.”

19-year old, Lily Freeman, one of 20 successful students from Connell who enrolled on the course, said: “I’m proud of myself for completing the course and its definitely been a valuable experience. It has made me think more about my next steps after college and I feel more confident knowing this experience has given me an edge.”

Co-op CEO, Steve Murrells, said: “I’m really proud of all of the Young Business Leaders who have completed this programme today. They’ve demonstrated that we must encourage other schools and businesses to rethink support beyond the classroom and to find new ways to offer this generation the stability and prospects they need and deserve.

“The time is now to help young people with drive, determination and talent to access the opportunities they deserve and to reach their true potential.”