Greggs has launched a national apprenticeship programme that it claims will help to fast-track its expansion plans.
The Newcastle-based business has teamed up with Gateshead College to deliver the scheme. It will see 120 apprentices trained in retail service or management in eight locations – Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Norfolk, Bristol, London, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and the Midlands.
Apprentices on the retail service course will be trained in customer service, sales, equality and diversity, and workplace health and safety. They will also gain insight into Greggs’ business model and skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and presentation and interview techniques.
Meanwhile, apprentices on the team leader course will learn additional skills in management, motivation and conflict resolution.
Greggs said the scheme would help it develop a new pipeline of skills to support its future growth plans, which include the opening of more outlets in the south west of England and Northern Ireland.
The company last week said it expected to open 140-150 shops and close 40-50 in its current financial year, a net increase of around 100. The company’s total sales have grown 7.8% in the year-to-date, with like-for-like sales up 3.9%.
“We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with Gateshead College on this exciting project, which is a great way of bringing new skills and fresh ideas into our business. This unique, collaborative approach has created a training offer that has been designed specifically to support our business goals and future growth plans,” said Roisin Currie, people and retail director at Greggs.
Gateshead College was selected for the scheme following a competitive tender process. Together, Greggs and the college will train apprentices to an industry-defined standard that replaces traditional qualification frameworks and requires staff to demonstrate specific skills, competencies and personal attributes when carrying out their day-to-day jobs.
“Together with Greggs, we’ve developed a flexible, dynamic training solution that is tailored specifically to the needs of the business,” added Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College.
The food-to-go business said trading had benefited from investment in greater product availability and service, reporting total sales up 8.6% in the 13 weeks to 30 September. Like-for-like sales through company-managed shops rose 5% over the period.
Greggs said investment in its supply chain was progressing, and that it was focusing on redeveloping its Leeds bakery to consolidate manufacturing of small cakes and muffins. The business is to trial a new supply chain system in two sites ahead of broader roll-out next year.