The plc's newest management scheme is designed to attract comercially astute employers and create a pool of home grown talent. Corporate resourcing manager Anita Craig goes through the basics.
Last month saw the launch of MX2, Somerfield's accelerated management scheme designed to provide a fast track route into a commercial or financial management position for graduate and graduate calibre candidates.
Somerfield already has many years of experience in successfully recruiting graduates into the business. Our finance training scheme bears testament to this with more than 16 graduates already placed in finance functions over the past five years.
Previously, recruiting graduates has been the responsibility of individual departments, with recruitment processes, programmes and even salaries varying from department to department.
We felt this process could be streamlined to communicate a clearer offering to the graduate marketplace. We created MX2 with this in mind, building on existing best practices and past experience to create a unified approach to training.
We started developing the MX2 scheme in May, in response to two different needs identified within the business. First, a need for a more consolidated and corporate approach to training our employees and secondly, we wanted to develop a framework for managing talent to identify future business leaders.
The MX2 scheme consists of two different programmes ­ MX2 Finance and MX2 Business ­ and is designed to provide delegates with a range of commercial, behavioural and specialist skills through a mix of on and off-the-job training, project work and mentoring.
Candidates on the MX2 Finance programme will spend a period of time in each finance function over a three-year period, and work towards the CIMA qualification. MX2 Finance is an enhancement of the existing finance training scheme that has been in place since 1996. By incorporating the finance scheme under the MX2 umbrella, candidates will be able to take advantage of the support network in place for MX2 delegates, and will be able to tap in to the behavioural and soft skills training open to all candidates.
MX2 Business is a new 18-month programme, comprising a six-month orientation period, followed by a 12-month specialism in one of five different functions - IT, supply chain, buying, human resources and marketing.
The fact that the scheme offers two different programmes is partly the inspiration behind its MX2 branding.
However, the MX2 name was also created to reflect the fact that candidates will double their management experience by working across two very different businesses ­ Kwik Save and Somerfield ­ with different market places, customers and cultures. This sets the MX2 scheme apart from other management trainee schemes currently on offer.
It is important to note that MX2 differs from other trainee schemes on the market because it is open to graduate calibre applicants who don't necessarily have a degree but do have at least three years commercial experience instead.
The MX2 scheme is an important investment for long-term commercial success.
We will have a group of internally trained managers with existing knowledge of our culture and working practices as well as an in-depth of experience in their chosen discipline.
In essence, with the creation of MX2, we are laying the foundations for healthy commercial development.
The first intake of MX2 trainees will be in September 2003 with approximately 10 candidates enrolled on the business programme and five on the finance programme. Recruitment will take place via an on-line application form on our specially created website at, which incorporates competency profiling and ability tests. Candidates who are successful on-line will be asked to take part in an assessment day in Bristol.
With the MX2 programme firmly in place, we are confident we have a market-competitive programme that we are proud to shout about to potential candidates, whether this is through careers fairs, in regional press or within relevant graduate publications and directories.
The scheme has already been well received internally by staff and we expect a very positive response for our first intake.
All in all a very exciting time ahead.