By Ruth Jennings, Apprenticeship and Qualifications Manager, Group Technical and Digital Learning, Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd

The start of our journey…

At Sainsbury’s we’re passionate about our heritage and values, and we have been since 1869. We’ve always had our customers at the heart of our business, innovating both products and service so that we can be the most trusted retailer – a place where people love to work and shop. To deliver this, our colleagues have been, and remain, central to our success. Developing our colleagues and offering career progression is a key driver for our business. We’re really proud of our record on skills development and this has been recognised externally – in 2019, for the fourth time, we were awarded Investors in People Gold status.

As part of our development offer, we’re building on our Apprenticeship programmes to provide our colleagues with the skills necessary for today and for the future. We’ve had an Apprenticeship offer since the early 1970s, with our focus always being on quality programmes that support us to better serve our customers and unlock the potential in our colleagues. Since 2015 we have evolved and expanded our offer – growing from 2 programmes, Bakery and Fish, to 40 programmes that support colleagues from all areas of our business – plus, we’re still the only retailer to run our own internal Bakery and Food colleges, enabling us to train our colleagues in the best environment possible.

Where we are now?

When looking to grow our Apprenticeships offer, we looked at each business area and considered the skills we require to fulfil our need today and in the future. Where we identified an opportunity to introduce the structured training that the Apprenticeship programmes deliver, we worked in partnership with some excellent expert suppliers to introduce a wide variety of programmes. These range from entry level, Level 2, to post graduate, Level 7. From Food Technologists to Accountants, Light Goods Vehicle Drivers to Software Developers, Data Analysts to Butchers – we now have Apprentices all across our multi-channel, multi-brand business.

Our plans…

Over the next 5 years we’re continuing to be ambitious and aspirational. We have an eye on our customers’ future needs and we’re working hard to build an Apprenticeship programme that will deliver colleagues with skills for the future. Our stores now provide a more experience-based service, with a wide range of products purchased in a variety of ways. As we continue to innovate our Retail offer, we’re developing programmes that really help our colleagues to bring this shopping experience to life. We also have a strong Tech focus, developing our offer in Data Analytics and Engineering, and we’re working with our Logistics and Distribution teams on a great development offer that’ll ensure we continue to see a supply chain that always delivers.

It’s important to us that every single one of our colleagues feels they can fulfil their potential and that our customers feel welcome when they engage with our multi-channel, multi-brand business. We’re proud to say that we now have a wide range of career pathways and development opportunities that colleagues can access to support their own personal development journey.

Take a look to see the great opportunities we currently have available at and Sainsbury's Digital, Tech, Data

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