It was all about variety for me. Even though I’d always known that I wanted to work in HR, I liked the idea that The Co-operative would let me try a number of different things so I could be sure I was going in the right direction. I was excited that I might go from Pharmacy to Farms to Funeralcare – and that was the main attraction.
I wasn’t disappointed. For example, I’ve recently changed projects from organising exhibitions for Funeralcare to working on a new workforce management system for Food. What’s interesting is that I’ve made contacts in each department that I’ve been able to make use of in the following project, and this kind of cross-fertilisation is unique to the programme. When I compare my experiences to those of my friends in other organisations, I’m certainly getting more variety – and more respect from senior managers and directors from the very start.
I certainly feel that the business values its graduates – but the level of senior exposure can be a little daunting in the early days. Imagine my surprise when I realised that I was to make a presentation to around 50 very senior people at the end of my two-week induction! You get used to that quickly, though, and it’s great to see your ideas carried into the business as some of mine have been. I’m extremely proud that a policy I wrote for employees who are carers is being rolled out as I speak.
I’d recommend The Co-operative to any graduate on the strength of the graduate programme alone. But add to that the unique qualities of the business and the fact that we’re going from strength to strength in difficult times, and I think there’s no place to match The Co-operative for opportunity, variety, stability and responsibility