IF YOU got caught up in last summer's A-levels fiasco and had to take an unplanned gap year, you may be interested in a new scheme from Tesco.

A-level Options offers gappers work in one of 730 Tesco stores around the
UK. They gain invaluable work experience plus the chance to save for precourse travel, a part-time job when they start university and a transfer to work in their home store during holidays.

It's likely the Government will foist higher-education funding shortfalls on students so a foot in the Tesco door could prove a wise longterm investment.

"It is a great opportunity to help out in a difficult situation, " says Tesco's human resources director David Fairhurst, the brains behind the initiative.

"It's part of a long-term strategy for us. Many employers don't offer flexibility so students can carry on working for them once they start university.

"We want to continue the life cycle. Take the example of a student from
London who works a gap year and then starts at Edinburgh University.

"We're offering them the chance to work part time in a store in
Edinburgh during term time, then a London store during the holidays, with the same rates and benefits at both."

Tesco is looking for strong customer service skills and "the retail gene".

"Your gap year is an ideal test whether you enjoy this fast-moving environment, " says Fairhurst. "You are likely to start as a general assistant, gaining skills in a range of departments."

A-level Options graduates who want a retail career are also guaranteed assessment for Tesco's graduate scheme. Within five years you could be the manager of a branch with a GBP 1m weekly turnover and 500 staff or a manager in a commercial department.