Success for Southern Co-op in local employer awards

Southern Co-op has won Large Employer of the Year award as part of an annual celebration of apprentices and employers.

During this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, Havant & South Downs College (HSDC) gave out five apprenticeship and five employer awards at its virtual Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony.

The focus was to celebrate HSDC’s business partners and the impact their apprentices have made on their business as well as the benefits to their careers.

With dozens of its colleagues continuing to pursue apprenticeships, Southern Co-op was named the winner of the 2021 Employer Award: Large Employer of the Year presented by Dan Beale, Vice Principal – Quality & Student Experience.

Linda Masterman, Southern Co-op’s diversity & inclusion manager, said: “We have been working with HSDC for a number of years and have built up a strong partnership with them.

“Southern Co-op has been recognised as an employer who supports their colleagues through their apprenticeship, and this has resulted in our colleagues achieving fantastic results. Thank you HSDC!”

HSDC has been working with Southern Co-op to deliver its Management Apprenticeship for two and a half years.

So far, there have been two cohorts, many of whom have achieved top grades and it is hoped that a third cohort will start after Easter 2021.

Since Southern Co-op started offering apprenticeships, more than 80 of its colleagues have taken up the opportunity to enrol on an apprenticeship programme with 24 colleagues having completed to date.

With apprenticeships taking 13 to 24 months to complete, the qualifications take hard work and determination but colleagues are supported throughout by Southern Co-op – the independent, regional co-operative.

Linda Masterman said: “It is important to us to make sure all of our colleagues have the opportunity to develop their skills and apprenticeships are the perfect way to do this.”

Apprenticeship opportunities at Southern Co-op include Retailer Level 2 for customer service assistants, Retail Team Leader Level 3 for duty managers, Funeral Team Member Level 2 for funeral assistants and co-ordinators, and the Operations/Departmental Manager Level 5  for senior managers.

Southern Co-op also offers other job specific qualifications that can be funded through the apprenticeship levy, such as apprenticeships in HR, project management, customer service.

To find out more about roles at Southern Co-op, which operates more than 250 food and funeral branches across the south of England, visit