By Roger Harrop, Learning and Development Lead at Company Shop Group

At Company Shop Group, our 700-strong team is at the heart of everything we do. They work tirelessly every day to prevent good food and household products from going to waste - helping our industry partners to unlock the value in their surplus stock. Ensuring we engage with, empower and develop our colleagues and talent from within, is pivotal to our success.

A crucial way to develop our retail leaders has been through apprenticeships, and we have worked hard to ensure we are harnessing the potential of our apprenticeship levy by creating a people development framework that allows us to maximise the funds available. This has enabled us to develop our colleagues so that they have the skills, knowledge and confidence to be their best, so that they can support the continued growth of our business. One of our key colleague values is to “aim for the extraordinary”, encouraging people to be passionate, to be the expert, and to continue to improve every day.

We have been delighted to work with the BRC, in collaboration with Joules, to enrol two members of the Company Shop Group leadership team onto the 13-month Retail Leadership and Management Apprenticeship Scheme. For us, this presented an excellent development opportunity for our colleagues, who will have the chance to share their own learnings and best practice, as well as gaining insight into other areas of the industry from Joules participants.

We have always been proud of our partnership with the BRC, so it has been brilliant to work with them in this new dimension. We endeavour to work collaboratively with retailers and businesses in all avenues of our work, so we were keen to enrich our programmes with the BRC’s industry insight and expertise. We are really looking forward to seeing the positive results generated by the scheme.

As a Group, we are currently developing our people development framework which focuses on three key areas – foundation, development and technical, and professional programmes. 

Our foundation programme is about growing our potential through vocational apprenticeships and aspiring leaders – enhancing our strong pipeline of future talent. In our industry, it is important to develop managers and supervisors so that they can go on to be effective and inspiring leaders for their peers. 

Our technical and professional programmes support the development of these skills and provide an opportunity for our existing colleagues to further their careers and skillset – allowing us to grow our business and our people. In 2018, 30% of our professional roles were filled internally, reflective of our desire as a business to support and nurture our talent within, so that colleagues have every opportunity to establish exciting, progressive and rewarding careers with us.

Company Shop Group is the UK’s leading redistributor of surplus food and household products, working with retailers, manufacturers and brands – including BRC members – to stop good products from going to waste.  

The Group handled 70 million units in 2018 alone and returned £16.5m to its supply chain partners, resulting in an overall return of £128m in the last decade.

The business is also home to its award-winning social enterprise, Community Shop that sells high quality, low-cost surplus food to local members who are receiving welfare support. Revenue raised from the sale of food is then invested into the onsite Community Hub, where the team engages and connects with every member who comes through the doors. Here, members can access personal development support, with everything from debt advice and employability skills, to cook clubs, mentoring and home budgeting. 
For more information about BRC apprenticeships, tailored for the retail industry, click here.