Sixth form to offer students part-time Co-op Apprenticeships

Sixth form to offer students part-time Co-op Apprenticeships

A Manchester sixth form college today became the first in the UK to offer students part-time, paid work as part of their studies.

From September 2019, the Connell Sixth Form College, which is in the process of becoming part of the Co-op Academies Trust, will enable students to start courses that will include one day a week working as a paid apprentice at the Co-op’s National Support Centre in Manchester. For the remainder of the time they will study for a BTEC Level 3 qualification across a range of business areas.

The Co-op, already offers 16 year olds leaving its academies the opportunity to become an apprentice, but this is the first time that teenagers will be able to continue their sixth form studies, while also working as an apprentice.

The courses will last two years and cover various aspects of business including: marketing; accounting; economics; HR and ethics. As a Co-op apprentice for up to 40 days a year, the students will receive the same hourly rate as any other new starter, £7.71 and not just the minimum apprenticeship wage (which currently starts at £3.70 per hour).

The Co-op will provide funds so that the youngsters receive a grant for their work placement. The experience will be similar to that of a junior doctor whereby apprentices will have access to many parts of the business in order to help them judge which areas of work and study they feel best suited to.

Earlier this year the Co-op announced it was putting a further £3.6m into its academies programme to kick-start the next growth phase which will see the number of schools across the north of England increase from 12 at present to up to 40 by 2022.

Helen Webb, Chief People Officer at the Co-op, said: “By creating a pipeline of talent direct from our academies, we are producing the pioneers of the future who will understand the values and principles that make the Co-op different.

“The world of work is changing rapidly and this pace will only increase in the years ahead. It’s vital, therefore, that our academy students are fully equipped with both the academic and practical skills to embrace this change and fulfil their future potential. This new initiative shows how business and education can come even closer together to create a win-win for pupils and employers alike.”


Frank Norris, Director of the Co-op Academies Trust said: “By providing a great education, Co-op Academies are changing the lives of thousands of young people and helping transform the communities in which they are situated.

“The Trust has demonstrated that co-operative values and principles, strong governance and the ability to leverage the support of the Co-op in areas such as brand, communications, property, insurance and IT, can have a dramatic impact on student outcomes.”