LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2012) - George has today announced that 4 new college leavers will embark on a fully-funded degree programme this month, after a successful pilot last year.
Launched last August, the scheme, one of the first of its kind by a UK retailer, offers college-leavers the opportunity to study for a Foundation Degree in Retail at Manchester Metropolitan University, while taking up salaried positions at George's head office in Leicester.
The two-year Programme involves 28-hours of learning each week, split between work-based assessment, online study and peer networking and reflection.
Successful candidates supplement their learning with a 12-month rotation of various George departments at its HQ, including e-commerce, central operations, and branch merchandise. At the end of this two-year course, candidates then have the opportunity to pursue a full BA Hons qualification, whilst still continuing their career at George.
Amanda Coulter, People Director at George, said:
"I am incredibly proud to see the George Clothing Business working harder than ever to support Britain's youth at a time when tuition fees are rising and a million young people are out of work.
"This George Retail Foundation Programme provides the much needed platform for the 1 in 5 students who will not make it to university places and offers the opportunity to gain much needed work experience, earn a regular income and at the same time gain a university qualification."
Amongst those enrolling today is 18 year-old Kate Bowler, who has recently completed a two-year course in Art and Design, Fashion and Footwear at Leicester College. She comments:
"The scheme seemed to be such a good opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the retail industry, as well as gaining a degree. My tutor at Leicester College was actually the one who encouraged me to apply for the position so I'm really grateful for her support."
Jules Dawson, Fashion Lecturer at Leicester College, said: "We're all absolutely delighted for Kate. She really deserves this opportunity as she was a hard working, focussed and articulate learner, a real pleasure to tutor! I have no doubt that she will continue to excel in the fashion and retail sector."
Kate will be working in a variety of roles over the next two years whilst studying for her degree, starting with a role as assistant Branch Merchandiser at George House in Lutterworth for the first six months.
"It's such a friendly environment at both Asda House in Leeds and George House in Lutterworth. Everyone is so helpful and has been willing to take their time to make me feel welcomed.
"I'm also travelling to workshops and support days in Manchester several times each term as the degree is in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. I'll be given one free afternoon a week to do degree work but most of my studies will have to be completed in my spare time at home."
Kate will be offered the option to top up to a full degree in her third year which she has every intention of completing.
As one of Britain's best loved retailers, George has been changing the face of British fashion for over 20 years. As the first supermarket to launch its own clothing brand in 1990, George at Asda is now sold through more than 540 Asda stores across the UK, has an online business with over 600,000 customers a week, and employs 10,000 people across the country. It is now also a global brand, exporting the best of British design, with ranges sold in seven different countries including Canada, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Japan and the US., and through franchises in the Channel Islands.