Southern Co-operatives has launched a new apprenticeship scheme for store staff.

Customer service assistants and team leaders can take the year-long programme to gain a BTEC qualification and develop opportunities to progress into management. Some 30 staff have already signed up.

“Many of our leadership team started working on the shop floor at Southern Co-op and have progressed into management positions,” said head of HR Scott Taviner.

Mike Shuttleworth, an 18-year-old customer services assistant at the society’s Shanklin store on the Isle of Wight, is signed up already: “I’ve been working here for 14 months and would like to become a store manager.”