Some of the major leaders of the retail sector have signed a pledge to help educate under-qualified school-leavers who are ill-equipped for the workplace.
Justin King, CEO of Sainsbury’s, Peter Marks, Chairman of The Co-operative Group, Dalton Phillips, CEO of Morrisons, Mark Price, Chairman of Waitrose, Andy Clarke, CEO of Asda, and Richard Brasher, Commercial Director of Tesco, were all amongst the 25 leading business executives who signed the letter to The Times newspaper.
Organised by retail research company IGD, the letter promises that the industry will increase the amount of apprentices and work experience opportunities to young people struggling to get started in a career.
Joanne Denney-Finch, CEO of IGD, commented: “The food and grocery industry in the UK provides more than 3.5 million jobs and as such we need to ensure we are able to recruit capable individuals both now and in the future.”
Today’s pledge comes after Morrisons promised to offer one in ten of its jobs at new stores to homeless or vulnerable people.
Business leaders have often complained that basic literary and numerical skills are lacking in school and university leavers and this new letter highlights worries from retail bosses that 40 per cent of employers in the sector struggled to find applicants with relevant skill sets.
Asda boss Clarke said: “No one can deny that Britain has spawned a generation of young people who struggle to read, write or do simple maths.”