Superdrug and the Co-op have announced new apprenticeship roles as they push for reform to the apprenticeship levy scheme. 

Exterior of Superdrug store

Superdrug is enrolling 500 new apprentices across various levels in 2024

Superdrug has pledged to enrol 500 new apprentices across various levels in 2024 to “support young people with their life skills programme” as it kicks off National Apprenticeship Week (from February 5 to 11, 2024). 

The health and beauty retailer said it “hopes to encourage more people to seek a job in retail and give them reassurance that the retail industry is growing” after 120,000 retail jobs were lost in 2023.

The news comes after the British Retail Consortium warned that a reform of the apprenticeship levy is “vital” for the future growth of the economy, calling on the UK’s political parties to commit to this in their manifestos ahead of the general election.

The Co-op called for greater industry collaboration across the public and private sectors to ensure the apprenticeship levy is used more effectively to support young people as more than £96m in apprenticeship funds remained unspent and was returned to the central government.

The grocer said it has sourced £23m in funding for apprenticeships through its Co-op Levy Share service and matched more than 2,000 apprenticeships across 140 different types of roles.

Superdrug people director Amy Davies said: “Our apprenticeship scheme is incredibly important to us as a business and we are so pleased that last year was so successful. We are so passionate about offering the UK’s young people opportunities and the scheme is critical for developing talent for the future.

“Our aim is not only to give young people the best entry into retail that we can, but also to help them grow and develop in their roles so they choose to progress their careers within our businesses.”

Claire Costello, Co-op’s chief people and inclusion officer, said: “We urge every organisation that finds itself with excess apprenticeship levy funds to consider supporting a Levy Share initiative. By doing so, they can play a crucial role in supporting the creation of roles for people both starting out in their professional careers and those with experience already under their belt, to get into purposeful careers at organisations that might otherwise be struggling with limited budgets in 2024.

“It’s fantastic to have reached our Co-op Levy Share target and to have improved access to training in areas of England that need it most. This success is a testament to our continued commitment to create more career opportunities for people from all backgrounds and age groups, and support the growth of a diverse, skilled economy.”