The Co-operative Group’s graduate scheme appealed to me due to its diverse range of businesses. On the graduate programme you get the best of both worlds as you benefit from top class training, support and development, whilst gaining experience within many different industries and markets.
I decided to apply for the finance arm of the scheme as you have the opportunity to become CIMA qualified. You are supported both financially and otherwise throughout this process, and although it is challenging it is definitely worth it!
Your induction weeks really set the tone for your time on the scheme; it’s a steep learning curve but a very enjoyable one. You get the chance to find out about all the different businesses from the leaders themselves, a statement which really shows how much this business values its graduates.
My first six month role was working in the “Engine room” of finance also known as the Shared Financial Service Centre. I had many responsibilities, one of which was improving the management information produced. This was great as I had regular meetings with the heads of departments and gained a strong understanding of the work they do and the pressures they face.
As a graduate you are encouraged to suggest new ideas and ways of working, many of mine had a direct effect on making the department more efficient.
I am now currently working within the Acquisitions & Disposals department within The Co-operative. This is a small but fast paced department which is highly regarded within the Group. Some of their recent work has been the acquisition of Somerfield in 2008 and more recently the joint venture with Thomas Cook.
Within this placement I have been project managing an acquisition/disposal which is a great opportunity as it involves working with some very senior individuals both within the Co-operative and externally. I feel this is helping me to develop key business skills whilst also giving me practical experience as part of my CIMA qualification.
Outside of my specific business roles I have also jointly organised a charity football tournament which involved 32 teams from across the businesses. This was a huge success raising £3500 for the Community Youth Fund; the charity managed by the graduates.
I have am really enjoying my time with The Co-operative group and feel the graduate scheme gives you the best possible start to becoming a future leader within the business.