UK grocer Asda has launched a fast-track scheme for 15 graduates to become store managers in just 12 months.

Operating alongside the Asda graduate schemes, where trainees spend two-years in the retailer’s head office, distribution centres or large stores, the new fast-track programme will be exclusively based in Asda’s smaller format, supermarket stores.

The scheme starts in September.

Successful applicants will learn how to lead a team of up to up to 30 colleagues, before taking up a permanent position in one of Asda’s 175 supermarkets in October 2013.

The retailer said that the scheme, which is now open for applications, builds on Asda’s long-standing commitment to youth employment and skills development. In addition to the fast-track programme, the retailer also offers 41 other graduate opportunities across nine schemes including legal, property, finance, marketing and store development.

Last year, Asda launched the Asda Skills Academy, an accredited programme of apprenticeship training designed to offer a vocational alternative to university, in areas including customer service and fresh food.

Asda people director Hayley Tatum said: “Through the course of this fast-track scheme, our trainees will not only be given first class training and be exposed to every element of the Asda business, but they will also quickly be making decisions that will make a real difference to thousands of customers every week.”

The Asda Graduate fast-track scheme is open to anyone with a 2:2 degree.