Thinkers with a Passion for Food

By / Magazine / September 22nd, 2010 / 1

Love working with food and people? Loblaw Companies Ltd. has come up with an idea to help graduates find a job and follow their passion for food at the same time. Loblaw is looking for recent post-secondary graduates interested in a career in grocery retail through its [email protected] program.

The program offers college and university grads a full-time position and the opportunity to gain a strong foundation in the grocery retail business. At the heart of the program is the fresh perspectives that recent graduates often bring to their jobs while creating a dynamic environment that offers mentorship and experiences to nurture their talent and skill set.

“I have always known I wanted to work in retail. My exposure to various departments during the [email protected] program has given me a great appreciation for what is involved in getting products on store shelves,” said Russell Dudley, a full-time colleague in the [email protected] program. “This foundation will be invaluable to me once I start my next role learning what it takes to be a great leader at store level.”

Through work exercises such as Connect the Dots, graduates have an opportunity to examine how changes can be made to current in-store programs and procedures to be more efficient. Additionally graduates learn about Loblaw strategies and approach to business through participation in Learning Forums and training sessions at Learning Stores. Learning Stores are fully equipped store models that act as training hubs for colleague skill development.

“We encourage a culture of innovation and mentorship with our [email protected] colleagues to help foster new ideas within a foundation of best in class business practices,” said Judy McCrie, executive vice president, Human Resources, Loblaw Companies Limited. “At Loblaw it is not always about the big idea. Often it is the small suggestions that have the greatest impact. Our [email protected] colleagues are contributing some meaningful ideas that help us in our drive to ensure great customer service and quality value product offerings.”

Participation in team projects and meetings provide graduates with a platform to be engaged in the day to day operations of the business and consider improvements. As part of professional development exercises, graduates are tasked with idea generation and are given the opportunity to pitch to senior executives the merits of their ideas. Whether it is coming up with ideas for new products, or using their knowledge of in-store operations to make suggestions, graduates are making recommendations on how to improve business process and the retail experiences of customers.

The program lasts 18-month and offers mentoring and hands-on experience of various parts of Loblaw business. For the first five months of the program, graduates will work in a Loblaw retail store, learning about store operations and how to meet the needs of customers. For three months, graduates then spend time in merchandising, learning about the important role of product selection and getting products to the store shelves. For the final ten months, graduates are placed in the department they were hired to support. This could include store management or a business group such as marketing, merchandising, product development, supply chain, IT, human resources, central operations or finance.

“When looking for careers students often overlook retail, not realizing how many great opportunities the sector can provide,” observed Elizabeth Evans, director, Ted Rogers School of Retail Management, Ryerson University. “Programs like [email protected] provide grads with insight into a particular industry and provide a great foundation for future success.”

The [email protected] program is open to post-secondary graduates from across Canada and to recent graduates currently employed at Loblaw who have graduated from a college or university in the past three years. Grads can apply at www.loblawgrad.ca or visit local campuses across the country where Loblaw will be hosting a series of information sessions in September and early October.

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