When Lois McClure, 21, from Manchester left school she had her heart set on going to University. But during her second year at college she realised this wasn’t the path for her and began to look into the possibility of doing an Apprenticeship.

After applying for a learndirect Apprenticeship in business administration at the Co-op she started with the company in 2012 and has since progressed from a level 2 to a level 3 Apprenticeship. She has since secured a permanent job in the team and won Apprentice of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards in 2014.

Lois said: “I went straight to college after school and studied Media Studies, Psychology and Sociology. After my first year at college I was dead set on going to University to study Psychology. During my second year at college I realised that this was not what I wanted to do anymore and so started looking into Apprenticeships.

“I applied for an Apprenticeship at the Co-op and started here on 15 October 2012. I started my Level 2 Apprenticeship in January 2013 and it took me year to complete. I then started my Level 3 straight away which took me seven months to complete.

“On completion of my Apprenticeship I was guaranteed a permanent job within the team and in the future there could be the possibility of further education and learning.

“During my employment I have had many successes. I raised over £8,000 for Charity and won Corporate Charity Fundraiser of the Year, for which I met Princess Anne.

“In April 2013 I was appointed to the first ever Co-op Young Members’ Board which is a Board of 15 young people across the UK brought together to help the Co-op gain younger members and develop products and services for young people. I was also then elected as elected as Vice Chair.

“In September 2014 I won the North West Intermediate Apprentice of the Year and went from winning the regional stage to go on to winning National Apprentice of the Year 2014.”