John Lewis has announced the start of a new apprentice programme which aims to give young people a 'long-term sustainable route to secure employment' with the retailer.
This year, John Lewis plans to take on 80 apprentices.
The programme features two levels; the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme, for those who have left school at the age of 16, and the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme for young people who have already completed their A-Levels.
Both are one year programmes and if completed successfully, apprentices on the Modern scheme will be rewarded the equivalent of five GCSEs and those on the Advanced scheme, the equivalent of two additional A-levels. The rollout of the apprenticeship programme follows a successful pilot across five John Lewis shops in 2011.
Andy Street, Managing Director, 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."
Laura Whyte, personnel director, John Lewis, commented: "This apprenticeship programme has long been an aspiration for us. 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."
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