Co-op graduate applicant numbers double in wake of course redesign

Applications to the Co-operative Group’s graduate recruitment programme have more than doubled since it was redesigned to be more inclusive three years ago.

A total of 2,223 students applied to join this year’s programme, the member-owned supermarket revealed last week.

This is up from just 845 people in 2005, before it removed the age restriction and the minimum number of Ucas points required to get onto the scheme.

The Co-op will also now consider applications from students with any degree, not just those that have graduated in economics or business studies.

Head of diversity Amanda Jones said: “We are looking for our future leaders. It is not about age, gender, or ethnicity, and while academic ability undoubtedly helps, it does not necessarily mean that they are going to do well in a leadership role. For us it is about appointing the best possible person for the job, and we can only be confident that we have done that if we get the largest possible pool of applicants.”

Other measures the firm has used to attract a wider pool of people have included redesigning the online application form to make it easy to use for people with disabilities, including dyslexia. It also advertises in graduate career media and in specialist publications such as Stonewall’s Starting Out: Lesbian and Gay Recruitment Guide.

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