Tesco targets young guns as potential store chiefs

Personnel Today 21 October 2003

Supermarket chain Tesco has launched an innovative graduate scheme to attract more youngsters and to enable it to grow and develop its own managers from an early age.The Debut Club programme is designed for the 30,000 students currently working at the firm, but will also be available in a scaled-down version for anyone between the ages of 16-24 to encourage them to consider a retail career with Tesco.The programme was designed for Tesco by a panel of students and uses a central website to communicate careers advice, online training, The supermarket has also used its huge buying power to offer the youngsters a range of lifestyle discounts such as driving lessons, cinema tickets and mobile phone deals. HR director David Fairhurst hopes the move will make Tesco an employer of choice among a crucial age group, while at the same time making the retail sector more attractive to youngsters. We want to convince young people that the retail sector is a great place to have a career. We're giving them development, flexibility and responding to their needs," he said. As part of Debut, Tesco is also running a trial with 200 students that allows them to move anywhere in the country as long as they promise to work 650 hours a year. Under the scheme students will be guaranteed a place at another store if they change location during term time, or move to another area. A 'save-as-you-study' pilot is also under way, enabling students to contribute 6 a month to the scheme (matched by Tesco) which then pays out a tax efficient lump sum at the end of their studies.