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Tesco Business Case for Apprenticeships


Tesco is the market leader in the UK’s food retail market, with 13 million customers a week and nearly 200,000 staff. In such a competitive marketplace, it is staff who make a difference to customers and this is the driving force behind staff development and training schemes. Tesco launched its retail apprenticeship pilot in February 2004 with around 20 apprentices at three stores in the Midlands (Meir, Solihull and Uttoxeter).

Tesco evaluated the business benefits of its apprenticeship scheme as:

Short-term benefits relate to better customer service and widening the internal talent pool for management recruitment. Long-term benefits are linked to reduced labour turnover, lower absenteeism figures and higher employee satisfaction.

Increased staff retention
Retention on the pilot is very high (95%). Employee satisfaction research has also shown that apprentices are 18% more likely to stay with Tesco compared to young people who leave within a year of joining the company.

Potential for career progression
The apprenticeship programme provides 70% of the curriculum needed to qualify for Tesco’s management training and this is a clear incentive to staff. It could also reduce management recruitment costs.

Higher employee satisfaction
Initial feedback from apprentices identifies positive impact. Employee satisfaction survey quotes include ‘I can earn and learn at the same time’, ‘I have a chance to get on’ and ‘my manager takes time to support me in my career.’

Increased competitiveness
Attracting young people into the business is critical to its development of future managers. By providing the training for an apprenticeship qualification Tesco makes the sector and the company more attractive to high quality applicants and gives the company a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Higher productivity
Confidence and skill levels have improved. The programme has also led to a better understanding of the business and this has resulted in greater initiative and self-management.

Reduced costs
Long-term benefits still require testing, however costs linked to sick pay, recruitment and training are expected to fall.


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