Second career at 67 - Co-op Funeralcare celebrates 1500th apprentice

April 25, 2016
  • Co-op Funeralcare recruited 40-50 apprentices every month in 2015
  • Latest recruits see Co-ops oldest and youngest apprentices join the ranks
  • Only funeral provider to offer a funeral apprenticeships scheme 

Co-op Funeralcare has exceeded its target of recruiting an apprentice per day in 2015 and is celebrating its 1500th recruit, 67 year-old Detective Sergeant, Robert Brown.
 
The UKs leading funeral director has exceeded its apprenticeship target with an intake of 40 to 50 new recruits every month, resulting in approximately 500 apprentices joining every year, since launching the scheme in 2013. Furthermore, the funeral provider is on track to continue to recruit this volume of apprentices again in 2016.
 
Highlighting the scope and diversity of apprentices recruited, since launch in 2013, the funeral provider’s apprenticeship programme has attracted applicants from all walks of life at ages ranging from 18 to 67.
 
Apprentices have ranged from people taking their first steps into the world of work, to colleagues who have embarked on funeral services as a career change and in some cases, after having experienced a bereavement themselves.
 
At 67, Robert Brown from Canterbury, Kent is currently Co-op Funeralcare’s oldest apprentice. Robert took up the role after a 30 year career in the police force, his most recent role being Detective Sergeant.
 
Commenting on his new role Robert said:

“I can honestly say there is no other job I’d rather be doing. After a 30 year stint with the police, I did wonder how I would find working in funerals, but I love it. I only wish I’d done it sooner. My wife also recently started working at the Margate funeral home and hopes to become an apprentice in the coming months.”

In stark contrast to Robert, at 21, Katie Tulett from Southampton is currently Co-op Funeralcare’s youngest apprentice. After experiencing a number of close family bereavements, Katie from a young age had her heart set on working for Funeralcare.

Commenting on her new role Katie said:

“I have somewhat an emotional attachment to Co-op funeralcare. My Grandad, my mum and my Nan’s funerals were arranged with Co-op and whilst I didn’t have much to do with the arrangements, I will never forget their send offs. It was from the support my brother and I received during these times that I realised I had to work in funerals.
 
“When I was just 18 I studied the introduction to counselling and learnt counselling skills, hoping that this would lead me to funerals and it did.  I remember how I excited I was after passing my interviews,  I repeated to myself over and over 'just be yourself' and when I got the call to say I got the job, the tears started to flow, I was just so happy I had made it.”

Supporting this transition, the programme is designed to provide those embarking on a career in funerals with high quality, industry focussed and nationally recognised qualifications.
 
Richard Lancaster, Managing Director for Co-op Funeralcare added:

“Working within the funeral industry can be an extremely rewarding and satisfying career.
 
“Since starting this scheme in 2013 we’ve welcomed apprentices from all ages and backgrounds including plumbers, police officers and personal assistants. Our intention has always been to provide people from all walks of life with the opportunity to develop a worthwhile career in funerals. Providing they possess compassion, empathy, excellent service and organisational skills, we can teach everything else on the job.”

Co-op Funeralcare delivers the partnership with learndirect and remains the only UK Funeral Director to offer an apprenticeship in Funeral Operations and Services, following its launch in 2013 incorporating a QCF Level 2 and a QCF Level 3 in Funeral Operations and Services (formerly known as NVQ).

Notes to editors:


A wide range of apprentice case studies are available upon request. These include colleagues from all walks of life and backgrounds including school leavers, stay at home parents and those seeking a career change - for example personal assistants, paramedics and car salesmen turned funeral professionals.