Press Centre

Asda flies the flag for 60,000 young people in 2010

Supermarket launches ‘young retailer programme’ to boost youth employment

  • Up to 15,000 work experience placements for 14-16 year olds, showing young people that work matters
  • 15,000 apprenticeships for Asda colleagues, putting young people firmly on the ladder to a rewarding career.
  • 28,000 job opportunities ideal for young people, with every single new starter to Asda receiving City & Guilds accredited training.

On the day of the IGD’s Skills and Employment Summit in London, Asda today (Wednesday 10th March) announced that it is launching a new retail programme especially for young people, helping them gain experience and develop the skills they need to climb the career ladder.

The supermarket’s commitment means that from May, Asda will open its doors to up to 15,000 kids aged 14-16 for the chance to experience a week’s worth of real work, as well as giving 15,000 of its existing colleagues the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised apprenticeship.

As part of the scheme, every single one of Asda’s 371 stores will be adopting a local school or college to help introduce young people into the world of work.

The programme, which was shaped by interviews and focus groups with more than 100 young people across the UK, means that instead of sweeping up, running errands and making the tea, they’ll get the opportunity to discover real work – from the challenges of stock control and the logistics of delivery, to the delights of customer service and working in the community.

Existing Asda employees will also benefit from a new 12 week apprenticeship programme which will be assessed and validated by learning provider Protocol. Initially it will give eligible colleagues in Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the North East a chance to gain a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Retail Skills – equivalent to five good GCSEs – before being rolling out to the rest of the UK before the end of 2010.

Despite Asda having one of the lowest labour turnover rates in the industry, due to the size of the company, the supermarket will need to recruit 22,000 people to fill vacancies this year. It will also create 6,000 new jobs through its new store opening programme – roles which are ideal for young people looking for their first job.

What’s more, every single one of Asda’s 28,000 new starters this year will receive training accredited by the UK’s leading awards body, City & Guilds, further showcasing the supermarkets commitment to developing young people.

Andy Clarke, Asda’s chief operating officer, said "One million people under the age of 25 are unemployed, and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. That’s why I’m determined that we do everything we can now to help young people get a foot in the door. This is about giving them a hand up, not a hand out.

“This year Asda will offer up to 15,000 work experience places to 14-16 year olds, plus 15,000 apprenticeships to existing colleagues, ideal for those at the start of their retail career.
“Despite having the lowest turnover in the industry, due to our size, we’ll also recruit 22,000 new people to join our business and fill existing vacancies. Combined with the 6,000 new jobs we’ll create this year that adds up to nearly 60,000 opportunities for young people at Asda.”

Asda’s announcement is the latest in a long line of initiatives launched by the supermarket in a bid to further reinforce its passion to support young people with rewarding careers.

Asda is already proud to be one of 150 employers supporting the Government’s ‘Backing Young Britain’ campaign, which launched last year to encourage greater work experience and internships to help youth employment.

The supermarket currently employs more than 37,000 colleagues between the ages of 18 and 24 – nearly a quarter of its entire workforce – and almost 75 per cent of its 10,000 strong ‘Seasonal Squad’ are aged between 16 and 24. In addition, Asda is one of the only retailers in the UK to offer the same rate of pay to under 18s.

Andy Clarke added:

“By giving young people the opportunity to learn life skills, receive accredited training or gain a nationally recognised apprenticeship, we’re giving them valuable experience which they can put on their CV and proving to them that working at Asda can provide them with a stepping stone to a great career in retail."

For more information or to register interest in the programme, please visit

Posted in Press Centre on 10 March 2010