Co-operative Pharmacy launches modern apprenticeship

March 08, 2013

The Co-operative Pharmacy has announced today, in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week (11-15 March), that it is offering branch colleagues the opportunity to complete a modern apprenticeship that covers retail skills and customer service.

The modern apprenticeship has been built around the Pharmacy business’ internal colleague training content and can be completed by new and existing branch colleagues.

The apprenticeship is available to pharmacy staff if they work 21 hours a week or more and do not already have a degree. 

The modern apprenticeship develops operational and customer-focused skills that cover subjects including merchandising, stock management and customer service. It includes functional skills in numeracy and literacy in addition to meeting the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF - formerly known as NVQ2) standards for retail.  

The apprenticeship takes a minimum of a year to complete and is undertaken alongside the relevant professional qualification in pharmacy services that all pharmacy colleagues are required to complete, unless they already hold an appropriate professional qualification.
Janet McNally, Head of HR at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said:  “We believe that businesses have a real responsibility to provide development opportunities so that young talent is supported, motivated and nurtured.  The modern apprenticeship will enable our colleagues to develop a range of retail and customer service skills that will complement those they acquire in pharmacy. This provides a great platform for their career in healthcare as well as being good for our customers and members.” 
The initiative is part of The Co-operative Group’s drive to recruit 800 new apprentices this year.  Each of the 800 apprenticeships on offer will be based within one of The Co-operative’s businesses which as well as Pharmacy include Funeralcare and Food, Financial Services, Farms and Legal Services as well as many corporate functions such as IT and HR.

The Co-operative Group as a whole has already recruited over 1,200 apprentices to what is the most diverse apprenticeship scheme of its kind in the UK, offering young people transferrable skills, competitive salaries and qualifications - not just a job.

For more information or to view currently available positions, visit

Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain’s largest farming operations. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies over 50 commitments in these areas.

The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.  Further information is available at

For further information contact:    
Alex Wilson
Senior Public Relations Officer - Pharmacy
The Co-operative Group
07540 641368