Waitrose has begun a hunt for the Mark Prices of the future with a new graduate scheme launching today.

Waitrose has begun a hunt for the Mark Prices of the future

As the self-styled ‘chubby grocer’ and Waitrose managing director celebrates his 30th year with the John Lewis Partnership, the supermarket group unveiled its graduate leadership scheme, designed to discover future directors.

Members of the grocer’s management board will play a key role in the scheme, which replaces a graduate programme that was focused on department manager and branch manager positions.

The three-year scheme will develop talent by providing recruits with insight and experience across all areas of the business Waitrose, which along with sister business John Lewis was expected to issue upbeat interims as Retail Week went to press, will also launch a programme for school leavers including a paid work experience initiative and apprenticeship scheme later this month.

The development came as grocery bosses met Prime Minister David Cameron this week to discuss cutting youth unemployment.

High-profile retailers including Asda chief executive Andy Clarke, Co-operative Group boss Peter Marks and Marks & Spencer chief Marc Bolland went to Downing Street on Tuesday ahead of industry body IGD’s Skills for Work Week, which starts on Monday.

Clarke said: “This is an unprecedented collaboration in the food industry. It’s a very positive step.”