Thomas Cook will start its first apprenticeship in management scheme this autumn to train a new generation of store managers.
The Apprentice Level 4 programme will take participants 18 months to two years to complete and aims to produce staff with leadership abilities. It includes on-the-job training as well as e-learning and classroom study.
The company’s existing UK retail apprenticeship scheme has achieved outstanding grades from Ofsted but apprentice managers do not need to have completed that scheme to join.
Customer services director, Kathryn Darbandi, said: “You can do your two-year apprenticeship with the company and then go straight into this but it’s for anyone interested in becoming a manager.
“It’s a good way to become a store manager and it’s already getting a lot of traction.”
Darbandi hopes the course will attract 40 to 50 apprentice managers in its first year.
Thomas Cook Group employs 450 managers and cluster managers across its 572 Thomas Cook stores and 258 Co‑operative Travel branches.
The company currently recruits more than 300 apprentices a year on its scheme, which includes an NVQ diploma in travel services, a technical certificate in travel geography and functional skills in mathematics and English. Apprentices work alongside staff in store, learning all aspects of a sales consultant role in retail.
In the Ofsted inspection, all areas of assessment, including outcomes for learners, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and effectiveness of leadership were judged as outstanding. Apprentice staff achieved a 94% pass rate last year, exceeding external standards by 24 points.
Upon completion of their training, apprentices become fully qualified sales consultants.
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