Central England Co-op colleague displays creativity and determination with career success

Central England Co-op colleague displays creativity and determination with career success

A Central England Co-op colleague is successfully building her career despite these challenging times.

Sophie Mead, Display Technician is celebrating having completed her NVQ Level 2 Signmaking apprenticeship.

The 24-year-old works in the Display Department at the Business Support Centre, in Lichfield, and has been there since May last year making signage and displays for stores, funeral homes and travel shops.

Before starting her apprenticeship, she worked at the Repton Road Food Store in Willington, Derbyshire.

After completing a degree at university, Sophie decided she wanted to be involved in a creative, hands-on job. She saw the apprenticeship advertised on www.cecjobs.coop/ and it looked like a good chance to develop her skills and gain new ones. The apprenticeship provided the opportunity to learn on the job and get an additional qualification via Walsall College to enhance her career prospects while still earning.

Sophie said: “I have learned so many skills during my apprenticeship, and I’m sure I will still carry on learning more even when it’s ended.”

These include developing her knowledge of software and systems, understanding ways to apply different display materials and working safely in different environments. However, one of the most important skills she has developed has been interacting with new people and colleagues at all levels of the business.

She commented: “I can adapt to a wide range of work environments, from the workshop at the Business Support Centre in Lichfield, to a building site of a new store, or even conference venues.”

Her work is used in over 430 Central England Co-op premises. Sophie said: “I enjoy of seeing my work in store. I feel that the Display Department has massively helped create the new look and feel for our businesses and helped bring an idea into reality. I’m proud to be part of that journey.”

Display Manager at Central England Co-operative, Mark Allen said: “Sophie has shown great dedication in successfully completing her NVQ L2 Signmaking, especially, completing the final part of the course, during ‘lockdown’. She should be proud of her progress over the first 12 months of her employment within the Display Department. Sophie has approached all the tasks she has been given with great enthusiasm and has developed her skills and proficiency to become an important member of the team.”

Sophie is already thinking about her ambitions with the Society, saying “Ultimately, I would like to go higher up in the business. I feel that relocating from a store to head office has helped me with this, as it has shown me parts of the business that I would not have had an insight into.”

Obviously, these are challenging times for anyone who finds themselves at the start of their career, but Sophie had some encouraging words for those looking for work and considering which direction to take:

“I think they should just go for it. Every little step along the way is an experience you can use for the future. Setbacks such as failed interviews are still an accomplishment and will help develop skills. You definitely need to think about the long-term, and not just think about the now.”

Notes to Editors

Photos: 1. Sophie Mead applies striking artwork created by local children to the outside of a new Central England Co-operative store 2. & 3. Sophie has learned new skills in producing and preparing signage and is proud to see her work used in over 430 Central England Co-op premises.

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

Our 7,900 colleagues serve Members and customers who work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop