Supermarket chain Tesco has launched an innovative graduate scheme to
attract more youngsters and to enable it to grow and develop its own managers
from an early age.
The Debut Club programme is designed for the 30,000 students currently
working at the firm, but will also be available in a scaled-down version for
anyone between the ages of 16-24 to encourage them to consider a retail career
The programme was designed for Tesco by a panel of students and uses a
central website to communicate careers advice, online training, financial
information and job opportunities.
The supermarket has also used its huge buying power to offer the youngsters
a range of lifestyle discounts such as driving lessons, cinema tickets and
mobile phone deals.
HR director David Fairhurst hopes the move will make Tesco an employer of
choice among a crucial age group, while at the same time making the retail
sector more attractive to youngsters.
"We want to convince young people that the retail sector is a great
place to have a career. We’re giving them development, flexibility and
responding to their needs," he said.
As part of Debut, Tesco is also running a trial with 200 students that
allows them to move anywhere in the country as long as they promise to work 650
hours a year.
Under the scheme students will be guaranteed a place at another store if
they change location during term time, or move to another area.
A ‘save-as-you-study’ pilot is also under way, enabling students to
contribute £6 a month to the scheme (matched by Tesco) which then pays out a
tax efficient lump sum at the end of their studies.
By Ross Wigham