Kingfisher, Europe’s largest home improvement retailer, has launched an international Graduate programme, designed to fast-track young talent into commercial roles across the organisation.
The Kingfisher Graduate Programme started on 2 July with its first intake spending one year at Kingfisher’s B&Q business in the UK and another year at its Brico Dépôt business in France. The graduates will spend time in product buying, category management and brand management roles in various departments, including decorative, seasonal, building and showroom (kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms). The graduates are all British but are fluent in French. They will receive a starting salary of £28,000.
The aim of the two-year programme is to help Kingfisher develop its own talent pipeline of product buyers and other key commercial roles. The scheme forms part of the retailer’s recently launched ‘Creating the Leader’ plan. Central features of this programme are bringing the group’s operating businesses closer together and developing a strong leadership team and pool of talent.
Commenting on the new programme, Liz Bell, Kingfisher’s Group Talent Development Director, said: “This exciting scheme offers graduates a genuinely international training experience within our commercial departments, which represent the core of any retailing business. We received more than 500 applicants for the places and our aim is to extend the programme to more of the businesses within Kingfisher.
“We are investing in our people at Kingfisher and this scheme is one of several across the business that will help us create a genuine leader in home improvement retailing.”
Other recently announced training schemes at Kingfisher include:
- B&Q’s ‘Fast Track’ Retail Management Programme, which is B&Q’s first graduate scheme for four years. The first 20 graduates start this scheme in September 2012, with the aim of them being capable of becoming a B&Q store manager within 2-3 years.
- B&Q also broke new ground last year with the appointment of its ‘Youth Board’, a one year programme where nine 16-18 year olds shadowed B&Q’s board for a year, with each member being mentored by a board member.
- Screwfix, Kingfisher’s business which aims at the trade and serious DIY-er, has launched a “Fast Track to Branch Manager” scheme open to assistant branch managers. On average it takes six months to complete with candidates gaining a City & Guilds Level 3 qualification in Retail Skills Management.
B&Q has 359 stores in the UK and Ireland, employing more than 33,000 people nationwide, more than a quarter of whom are over 50 years of age, with a similar number under the age of 25.
Brico Dépôt has 103 stores in France employing nearly 8,000 people.