The Co-operative Group has rolled out a new training programme for staff working at its food stores.

Citrus (Communication, Induction, Training, Resource, Understanding and Support) was launched in early autumn and trialled at 81 stores. It has now been rolled out to all 3,000 stores, including 258 Post Office franchises.

The programme, which replaces Lotus Notes email, is being used for staff induction to ensure all new employees get the same training. It also allows existing staff to brush up their knowledge and develop skills. New training packages are set to be added in the next 18 months.

"The Citrus programme will completely revolutionise our training and communications at both store and head office level," said Co-op Group director of food IS Mark Hale. "2011 will see additional phases of Citrus launching a new web-based messaging system, operational task management, and an electronic form design engine and interactive form library."

The Co-op Group's Lisburn Road store in Belfast was the first to pilot the programme. "Citrus allows my staff to take responsibility for their own training and development," said store manager Sarah Thurman. "I can easily keep track of everyone's progress, but it's a much speedier process so I can spend more time focusing on improving my store and making it a better place to work for my team."