Henderson Group, the locally owned and family-run wholesaler and retailer has launched its apprenticeship schemes for 2019, bringing the total investment in the initiative to £250,000 in the past three years.

The new opportunities are within logistics, retail food-to-go and retail financial services.

Each scheme is open for application now and will begin in September 2019 for an opportunity to earn, learn and develop a career with one of the biggest employers in Northern Ireland.

Group Human Resources Director, Sam Davidson says schemes like these are crucial to the development of our workforce here; “At Henderson Group, our retail estate is growing from strength to strength and we recently announced a £26m investment in our network of new builds and refurbishments for the next 12 months.

“With these developments come opportunities to grow careers. Our business is not possible without a great team of people so we’re looking for apprentices to specialise in two of our rapidly growing retail services: daily Deli and Post Office.”

Henderson Retail stores operate 53 Post Office branches throughout Northern Ireland and have invested over £1m in their food-to-go offering in-store in the past year alone.

A total of 12 apprentices have been recruited into the business in the past three years under both the Retail Deli Apprenticeships programme and the Post Office Scheme.

Sam continued; “It is essential for our stores to provide retail financial services via our Post Offices to local communities. Post Office apprentices will be enrolled on a Level 2 Financial Services qualification, while learning day-to-day management skills which will provide an opportunity to progress to a Clerk role, and even further career development.

“daily Deli has been steadily growing as our food-to-go brand within SPAR and EUROSPAR stores in Northern Ireland, and our apprentices on this scheme will gain a Level 2 Foodservices Team Leading qualification as well as additional training over two years.”

The final scheme sees Henderson’s fill a gap in logistics training and qualifications opportunities here, following the closure of the Logistics Degree at Ulster University last year.

Sam continues; “The closure of this degree course meant there were no longer any formal talent entry points into logistics at this level in Northern Ireland, therefore there is a skills shortage in logistics, particularly drivers.

“Our Logistics apprenticeships offer an alternative entry point to address both these gaps and a career pathway for those who don’t want to go to University. Again, there are many opportunities to progress from the NVQ Level 2 in Warehousing and Storage, including our ‘warehouse to wheels’ programme to become an HGV driver. Nine logistics apprentices have successfully been employed into the business in the past year.”

21 people have progressed through Henderson Group’s apprenticeship schemes since 2016, and the company now employs 3,700 people across Northern Ireland.

Recently, the business also launched the first of its Business Experience Placements, offering a 12-month intensive learning and earning programme to second year University students. The six roles encompassed all areas of the Group from marketing and communications to trading, software and business development.