Its vision of ‘co-operating for a fairer world’ acts as its guiding north star for all they do; advocating inclusion and bringing other businesses along on the journey with them.
Having used their unspent levy to support apprenticeships at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service since 2019, in May 2021 Co-op launched their national levy sharing scheme. The service enables levy paying organisations to donate up to 25% of their annual funds to pay for apprenticeship training costs in other organisations and has been specifically designed to support apprenticeships for individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds or underrepresented groups within their communities. The donating organisation can set criteria for how their money is spent (for example, by specifying a geographical location or community they would like to benefit from the donation), and employers seeking funding can apply and be matched with a suitable donor.
The levy share is also a great opportunity to build networks and share expertise; for example, experienced apprentices from a larger organisation could mentor those from a smaller company.
“The D&I piece gives us the who, but social mobility runs through all of that and gives us the where, and some of the how.”
– Danny Matthews, Apprenticeship & Community Resourcing Lead, The Co-op