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Waitrose projects receive PM approval


David Cameron has lauded Waitrose for the impact it is making in the community, including two new projects that are accredited by ASDAN.

The Prime Minister visited the retailer’s managing diretor, Mark Price, to present Waitrose with a Big Society Award and hear more about the company’s plans for 2012.

Towards the end of last year, Waitrose piloted a two-week work experience scheme for young people who are not in education or employment. Five of the 12 participants were offered a job with Waitrose and the remainder soon landed full-time roles with other employers. They were also rewarded with an ASDAN credit-rated certificate, which can be used towards programmes and qualifications such as Bronze, Silver and CoPE.

This initiative, delivered in liaison with The Prince’s Trust, will be rolled out across the organisation over the next 12 months and there will be almost 100 work placements offered at its head office, distribution centres and shops.

The second project, a Partner Volunteering scheme, will see thousands of Waitrose Partners, as all employees are called, donating time to local charities and good causes over the course of this year - with every Waitrose branch volunteering for an average of 250 hours. Following successful trials, the scheme will be rolled out across the business, meaning a total of 75,000 hours will be spent in local communities in 2012. Participants will be using ASDAN’s Volunteering Short Course to record and certificate their experiences.

Mr Cameron said: “I would like to congratulate Waitrose staff around the country for the contribution they have already made to their local communities and I wish them every success with their new employee volunteering, work placement and apprenticeship programmes over the coming year.”

Mr Price added: “It is more important than ever that we play an active role in supporting and safeguarding the future of the areas we trade in and the people who live there. It’s also essential that, in these difficult economic times, we give young people opportunities to develop their careers - they are the future of our business and our industry.

“Our Partner Volunteering initiative, apprenticeship schemes and work with The Prince’s Trust are great ways for our Partners to give something back to their communities - they will also provide invaluable experience to our Partners, helping them learn new skills which they can apply in their own lives.”