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Philip Critchley

The graduate scheme at the Co-operative is a fantastic opportunity and I have loved every minute. One of the reasons I originally decided to apply for the scheme was due to the variety involved as it gives you the opportunity to work in completely different businesses, including the likes of Food, Farms and Pharmacy.

The Co-operative group also lives and breaths its strong moral beliefs and ethical standards. It enables you to derive great satisfaction from your work, knowing that you are making a real practical positive difference to communities. The scheme has involved doing work to support the charity the Community Youth Fund, volunteering at a Conservation Centre and job coaching a homeless teenager.

The scheme provides a great opportunity to develop to become future leaders. We are assigned a great support network, which includes a graduate buddy, a personal coach, regular management skills training and a personal development budget to spend on areas of your choice that you wish to develop.

The scheme provides great opportunities and exposure within the business, shown as the induction period involved regular contact with Directors!

Soon after this I started my first 4 month project in Farms. I developed a new communication plan, which involved an investment of around £60,000!

I then moved into the Food Home Delivery team and it was an entirely different experience. I project managed the integration of the management of our fleet from a third party supplier to an in house team.

I have now just started a position as a Wine Events Manager, which is something I am eagerly anticipating getting my teeth stuck into.

My projects have given me invaluable experience and I certainly feel I have developed a great deal.

I highly recommend The Co-operative graduate scheme. It provides a diverse experience, alongside excellent opportunities and high levels of responsibility.