Department store John Lewis has announced today that it is taking on 80 apprentices as part of its first ever apprenticeship programme as it seeks to secure employment for young people.
All apprentices will be guaranteed employment once the one year training programme is complete and all will automatically become partners and have access to all benefits and reward programmes.
The news comes on the day that the Office for National Statistics revealed that UK unemployment dropped to 2.51 million in the three months to September, its lowest rate in over a year.
Andy Street, Managing Director at John Lewis, said: “Although the jobs market is slowly getting better, we recognise that young people are some of the most affected by unemployment.
“At John Lewis, we have always employed a large number of young people, but our apprenticeships scheme really formalises this attitude.
“We see this as a primary source of recruitment for future talent and have already been blown away by how savvy the young people from our first intake are.”
The scheme features two levels and follows a successful pilot last year across five stores. The Modern Apprenticeship Scheme is suitable for those who have left school at 16 and those who complete it will be receive the equivalent of five GCSE’s.
For those who have completed their A-Levels, the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme is available, rewarding successful apprentices the equivalent of two additional A-Levels.
Laura Whyte, Personnel Director at John Lewis, said that the retailer is dedicated to provided opportunities for school leavers.
“This apprenticeship programme has long been an aspiration for us,” she explained.
“We see it as a route to give young people a genuine alternative to further education as well as begin long-term careers at John Lewis.
“It was important for us to develop, own and manage our own dedicated programme, one that fits with our co-ownership model, and our values as well as aligns with our long term growth strategy.
“We hope to extend its scope by at least 25 per cent in 2013, and offer tailored programmes in retail and IT.”