The Co-operative Group has partnered with the National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) to develop a new student work placement programme as part of a strategic move to attract some of the best talent for its graduate scheme.
For the first time, the NCWE’s Quality Mark (QM) criteria and assessment process will be used to develop a new scheme based entirely on best practice. The QM Board has endorsed and commended the proposed programme, pending full accreditation in one year’s time when it has completed a full cycle.
Hannah Slaney, Group Graduate Programme Manager at the Co-operative Group explains: “Despite the recession, we have a strong desire to continue to develop and recruit young people, and are delighted to work with the NCWE to break new ground. We strive to ensure our placement scheme is market-leading to help strengthen our position as one of the best places to work and so wanted to use the QM to help us create a quality programme from scratch, getting it spot-on right from the start.
“Our aim is to further develop the region’s future workforce to the highest of standards as well as create a pipeline of talented candidates for our 2011 graduate intake. We hope that if students enjoy their experiences and we’re impressed by the impact they make, they’ll join us post-graduation. We’re now looking forward to continued engagement with the NCWE to improve our student offering and its value to the organisation.”
Heather Collier, director of the NCWE says: “With internships ranking increasingly high on the government’s agenda for graduates to improve employability, we are pleased to see such an influential organisation committed to providing the absolute highest calibre of experience. The Quality Mark is a valuable tool for companies to use in this way; building and improving programmes that will be fully accredited with evidence of successful implementation.”
The NCWE Quality Mark evaluates all aspects of a work experience programme against six key areas, including commitment, recruitment and evaluation. It raises standards, providing employers with the opportunity to benchmark their current programme, share best practice across industry sectors as well as take a more strategic view of their relationships within higher education.