Superdrug has announced plans to employ 500 apprentices as part of its ‘Rise Up to Level Up’ campaign aimed to increase apprenticeship employment across the UK.

Superdrug apprenticeship

The Superdrug ‘Rise Up to Level Up’ campaign will see the retailer employ 500 apprentices this year alone

The campaign fronted by TV star Tommy Mallet will see the health and beauty retailer employ 500 apprentices this year with the intake expected to double over the next three years. 

The high street retailer said it aims to help young people enter the world of work, as an estimated 859,000 young people are currently out of work or education with GCSE results expected to be lower on average and growing concern that disadvantaged groups are being hit the hardest.

The campaign, which is backed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), calls for change to the Apprenticeship Levy “to make sure that valuable funds are no longer wasted, great applicants don’t have to be rejected due to strict rules, more young people and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds can be brought into schemes and all apprentices are better supported to reduce drop-out rates”, said the retailer.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “With retail transformation under way and industry jobs becoming more productive, higher-skilled and better paid, retailers have a wealth of exciting apprenticeships on offer.

“We are proud to support this ambitious scheme, which will showcase the wide range of career options within retail and grow the number of apprenticeship places, giving hundreds more young people and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds a rewarding start to their careers. 

“Rise Up to Level Up shows how much value retailers place on apprenticeships and the proactive steps they’re taking to provide more opportunities for people from diverse walks of life. But the industry could go even further if the apprenticeship levy was more flexible, with the option to spend funds on a wider range of training which meets the industry’s skills needs.

“Now is the time for government to work with businesses to build an effective apprenticeship system that ensures a steady pipeline of talent and better supports apprentices, today and in the future.” 

Superdrug and Savers people director Amy Davies says: “Our apprenticeship programmes are specifically designed to help, support and train every apprentice while they earn, to rapidly get where they want to in their careers, and to cultivate and nurture the next generation of leaders in retail. However, the current restrictions mean there are limitations on what training we can offer and who we can accept.

“Within the last year we have had to turn away 7,200 great applicants who have not met the strict criteria and our drop-out rates have increased to 30%, as we can’t be flexible enough with our programmes or afford the right support when apprentices are in scheme.

“Apprenticeships are such a great choice for young people as they leave school and statistics show they are needed now more than ever – so as a business that stands for equality and accessibility, we remain committed to doing what we can to increase our intake and improve our scheme.”