Tesco increased its intake of graduates by 25% for its 2010/11 programme as it celebrated the 20th anniversary of the scheme.

A record number of 240 graduates were accepted on to the scheme, up from 191 in 2009/10. The scheme now offers 17 programmes including buying, customer analysis, human resources and supply chain. When Tesco launched the scheme in 1990, 100 recruits were entered into only two programmes store or commercial. 

"The company has seen significant growth since the programme began in 1990 and this is reflected in the opportunities on offer at Tesco," said corporate and legal affairs director Lucy Neville-Rolfe. "The diversity of the business allows graduates to work across different industries and disciplines and even countries. 

"Today's graduates are paramount to the continued success of Tesco and we invest a huge amount of resource into their training. We also encourage Tesco graduates to grow their careers in the company by providing continuous opportunities for professional development."

The retail sector is now the second-largest graduate employer after the NHS and Social Services, and there has been a 23% year-on-year increase of graduates beginning their careers in this sector compared with the financial services industry, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.