By Gemma Taylor -
Morrisons has launched a programme which will fund the university degrees of 1,000 students, in a move that will recruit school leavers to senior management level.
The UK’s fourth largest supermarket will fund the Retail Management course for 18-24-year-olds with A-Level qualifications, aiming to recruit 1,000 people in the next 18 months. The first 100 of these are set to begin the course at the University of Bradford this autumn.
The Morrisons Futures Programme is being launched as A-Level students collect their results this week, and focuses on structured on and off-the-job training.
A statement released by the grocer today said: “Morrisons is making the investment to support its expansion plans and boost the company’s talent pipeline.
“Morrisons has a tradition of growing its own managers from the shop floor to top floor and in the last year has promoted two colleagues to the management board who joined the business at 17.
“Morrisons is looking for three key attributes for successful candidates: the right attitude and enthusiasm for food retailing, ability to learn and ambition.”
Following a full-time position at one of the retailer’s 459 stores, where food retail will be the focus of learning, successful candidates will begin the three-year foundation degree course.
The programme is open to existing employees as well as external candidates, and will include eight hours per week of home study.
The announcement follows news earlier this month that Sainsbury’s is re-launching its Trainee Manager Programme, which is targeted at school-leavers and aims to equip staff with the skills necessary to progress to manager level.
Morrisons’ scheme will run alongside the company’s existing graduate scheme and is aimed at school leavers, helping young people gain hands-on experience in food retail and a management education without the need to run up student debts.
The University of Bradford recently announced that, as of September 2012, tuition fees will rise to £9,000 a year, and with Morrisons expected to invest £4 million in the scheme this equates to £4,000 per candidate.
Norman Pickavance, Morrisons Group HR Director, said: “This is an opportunity for young people who have the right drive and attitude to develop to senior management levels in the company and is also part of our wider philosophy of bringing the best out of all our people.
“It offers a genuine alternative to self-funded university qualifications and develops the work we have been doing in ensuring colleagues gain access to NVQs and Craft apprenticeships.”