Skills for life and work

The UK economy is facing a growing skills, qualifications and experience gap leading to stalling productivity levels.  We believe we have a role to play in supporting future growth and prosperity and we do this by inspiring younger generations to unlock their potential.  We run a number of programmes to help them grow in confidence, understand more about the world they live in, and to equip them with the skills for success.

Partners with pupils from a school at a Grow and Sell stand in front of branch

'Grow and Sell'

Waitrose's work with schools has continued to go from strength to strength. Through our 'Grow and Sell' scheme, stores distributed almost 3,000 seed kits to local schools in 2016. This has helped children learn about where food comes from, the impact of the seasons and the fragility of growing produce. The scheme has also given them the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills by selling their produce outside our shops or at their school fête.

'Work ready' with Business in the Community

Through Business in the Community's Work Ready programme we provide work placements for people who would otherwise struggle to find employment - whether that's as a result of homelessness, lack of training and qualifications or substance abuse. This year, we offered 34 placements and participated in the Unspent Criminal Convictions pilot - providing a placement for two ex-offenders who are now in discussions with us about ongoing employment opportunities.

Robin from Waitrose Christmas campaign on a sign post

'Coming Home'

In 2016 we produced 'Coming Home' - a book aimed at primary school children which was inspired by this year's Christmas TV advert. We sent 24,000 primary schools a copy of the book, along with a series of free lesson plans and craft ideas for teachers and pupils to help explore the book. These are aligned to the Key Stage 2 school curriculum in the areas of literacy and science. For every book produced, we donated 50p to homeless charity Crisis raising over £57,000.

Modern slavery workshops with Just Enough UK

Just Enough UK educates children about difficult subjects such as the risks of modern slavery and radicalisation.  We sponsored the charity to establish its name and services across the UK.  Since our sponsorship started in 2016, 9,360 children and young people aged 8 - 16 years have been educated through workshops on the signs of slavery so children can report anything suspicious to the Modern Slavery Helpline or the Police. 

Waitrose's donation has enabled the charity to work in 137 schools and directly with victims of trafficking to build their confidence and learn English. Our support has also successfully established a more tailored programme with the Anti Slavery Commissioner for schools in the priority counties of Kent, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire - regions at higher risk of modern slavery.