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Co-Operative Group Report Surge In Graduate Applications


Demand for The Co-operative Group’s graduate programme has soared by 65% compared to this time last year.

As the UK’s largest community retailer, with opportunities for graduates across its diverse family of businesses, including food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, The Co-operative Group take on 19 graduates each year.

In the six weeks since the application process opened, almost 1,000 people have already applied for the 19 posts. And with a further six weeks until the application deadline, The Co-operative’s Graduate Programme Manager, Rachel Rotherham, is predicting at least another 2,000 applications.

“We have been astounded by the high number of applications we have received so far. Last year, we received nearly 2,500 applications for 19 graduate places and, just looking at the numbers received already, we are set to receive a record number of applications this year.

“The candidates applying for these positions are of a consistently high calibre so we want to advise graduates to apply quickly to avoid disappointment.”

With 85% of graduate employers stating that they expect to have the same or more vacancies this year*, the outlook for applicants is more positive for 2011. However, with many places expected to be taken by those who were disappointed in their job search last year, and the implications of recent announcements in government spending cuts to be worked out, competition will remain fierce.

The Co-operative Group works closely with universities throughout the UK to help undergraduates develop their employability and increase their chances of gaining employment after they graduate. Skills sessions run by The Co-operative Group at universities across the UK have had very high attendance levels from students. There has been increased interest in the Group’s undergraduate opportunities as well.

Rachel says: “With over 2,000 applications every year, it is imperative that graduates make themselves stand out from the crowd. Graduates should think about what their key achievements are and think about how their experiences align with the organisation’s values and behaviours.

“Graduates should take full advantage of information at skills sessions, careers fairs, and on organisation websites to ensure that they are giving themselves the best chance to succeed in today’s competitive graduate market.”
*Source: Targetjobs
Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business which is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of £14 billion, employs 120,000 staff and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets serving more than 20 million customers per week.

As well as the in-demand graduate scheme The Co-operative Group also have a number of other schemes with the aim of inspiring young people including apprenticeships and volunteering opportunites too.

Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.
The Co-operative is the UK’s number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually, and is the UK’s largest farmer.

Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical and The Co-operative Legal Services.


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