Press releases

Waitrose helps young unemployed get into work

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Waitrose is helping to tackle youth unemployment by taking part in a scheme to help young offenders get into work and by backing the Feeding Britain's Future - Skills for Work Month.

Starting this month, members of the Waitrose Personnel team for Cambridgeshire will run monthly sessions in conjunction with HMP/YOI (Young Offenders Institution) Littlehey, to give participants an understanding of the food industry and the job application and selection process.

The sessions have been developed in partnership with A4e, the education provider at HMP/YOI Littlehey, to give those taking part an insight into areas including customer service, how to complete a CV and job application form and interview techniques.

Waitrose and HMP/YOI will also run sessions that teach young offenders completing a BTEC Business course about the co-owned and democratic structure of the John Lewis Partnership, the largest example of an employee-owned business in the UK.

If successful the scheme has the potential to roll out to other Young Offender Institutions across the country.

Meanwhile, Waitrose branches across the country will also take part in Feeding Britain's Future - Skills for Work Month1 in September. The nationwide campaign, led by the IGD and Jobcentre Plus, brings the food industry together to tackle youth unemployment. Waitrose branches in the North East took part in a successful week-long pilot of the scheme last year.

Young unemployed people between the ages of 16 and 24 can attend sessions at their local Waitrose branch, where they will take part in workshops with Personnel Managers covering topics including how to complete job applications, mock interview practice and CV writing.

They will also be given the opportunity to find out about career opportunities in the retail industry and take part in product knowledge sessions with a Waitrose Specialist in Meat and Fish, Cheese and Deli or Wine.  At the end of the sessions, participants will be given a certificate to confirm their attendance.

Helen Hyde, Personnel Director at Waitrose, said: 'Waitrose is committed to helping young people get into work, particularly during these difficult economic times. Two fifths of our workforce is under 252, and young people are vital to the success of our business. The teams in our branches are really passionate about working with young people to help them develop their understanding of the food industry and inspire them in their endeavours to get into the workplace.'

Waitrose is also a sponsor of, the government-backed online careers platform that helps 11 to 24 year-olds make decisions about their future by empowering them with the advice and guidance they need to get started in their chosen careers.

The 'Waitrose World' section showcases video interviews with Waitrose Partners in roles across the supermarket's head office, distribution centres and branches, to inform users about what their jobs entail. Waitrose is also a sponsor of plotr's 'Food and Drink World', which  provides an insight into the wide range of job opportunities available across the industry.

Notes to editors

1) Those interested in taking part in Feeding Britain's Future - Skills for Work Month, should contact their local Jobcentre Plus.

2) Employing young people and helping youngsters to develop employability skills is very important to Waitrose, particularly during these difficult economic times - 41 per cent of its workforce is currently under the age of 25.

Waitrose runs a year-long apprenticeship scheme which gives candidates a broad insight into its business and helps them to develop many valuable skills.

The supermarket also works with The Prince's Trust through its 'Get into' programme, to offer two-week placements to 16-25 year olds who may have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law. ( is a government-backed careers platform helping 11 to 24 year-olds. The website features inspiring career 'worlds', useful advice and guidance and employer profiles. There is also an opportunity finder showing the entry-level jobs, apprenticeships, volunteering placements and work experience opportunities available in a young person's local area. The site has been live since November 2012, and now features content from nearly 50 employers across industries.


For further information please contact:

Suzanne Hetherington
Senior Press Officer, Corporate, Waitrose Communications
Telephone: 01344 824006