Sainsbury’s has extended its trainee manager scheme following record interest last year.

It has made a record 250 places available on this year’s scheme, after receiving 3,500 applications for the 150 roles available last year.

The scheme is open to applicants with a minimum of two A-levels and gives trainee managers a year to learn about running a department. They are mentored by store managers and attend training courses to develop their customer service, commercial and management skills. They can then apply to become a department manager.

“Our trainee manager scheme has been a huge success since it launched in 2011,” said Sainsbury’s director of HR, retail and logistics Jacki Connor.

“Over 370 people are now successfully making an impact across our business as a result, managing motivated teams and making decisions on the sales floor.”

Joe Quinn, who completed the scheme last year and now manages the fresh department at Sainsbury’s Lewisham, added: “Many people my age are leaving uni struggling with debt and the opportunity to get on the career ladder. I would recommend the trainee manager scheme to anyone who wants a rewarding job at the sharp end of retail.”

Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King revealed at this week’s results presentation that the chain had created about 6,000 jobs in the past 12 months. Some 2,500 jobs had been created through its 87 new convenience store openings, with another 2,500 coming from temporary Christmas workers being kept on.