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Unlocking the key to succession planning

13th February 2020

Recruiting talented students and graduates from Northumbria University, Newcastle, is helping Greggs build a pipeline of future leaders.

The leading food-on-the-go retailer has worked with Northumbria over several years, taking on student placements and employing the University’s graduates. Many of these recruits have gone on to secure permanent employment with Greggs and are progressing swiftly into increasingly senior positions. Newcastle-based Greggs believes the success they have had from this relationship with Northumbria, in terms of people development and leadership succession planning, could be copied by other companies.

In a recent example, four leadership and corporate management students from Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School worked with Greggs on a two-year placement scheme as part of their degree. After graduating with First Class Honours, all four went on to secure full-time employment with Greggs and are now developing high-profile managerial careers within the company.

Roisin Currie, Retail Operations and People Director at Greggs, said: “We had three intakes from Newcastle Business School and it really has been a source of talent for us.  All students arrived work-ready and showed fantastic potential. Many have already moved up into higher levels of management and with the aspiration to keep pushing they can go all the way and become future directors at Greggs.

“Effective succession planning is crucial for all organisations, and recruiting high calibre graduates from Northumbria has been a successful strategy for us. I think it is important that other businesses are aware of the benefits that working with universities in this way can bring.”

Greggs is now looking at Northumbria’s Degree Apprenticeship programme as part of its ongoing people development.

Dr Brenda Stalker has led on earlier student placement programmes at Northumbria and is now Director of Apprenticeship Programmes in the Faculty of Business and Law. She added: “We pride ourselves on having high quality and motivated students with a strong work ethic and the ability and maturity to manage multiple work-streams. I’m delighted for our former students who are now carving out successful management careers with Greggs. They clearly have the potential to become future leaders of one of this region’s largest and most important companies.

“Building on these successes we are also working with a growing number of businesses and organisations through ourLeadership and Management Degree Apprenticeship courses. Developed collaboratively to ensure the best possible outcome for the employer and the employee, these courses nurture new and existing talent to contribute significantly to an organisation’s strategy for sustainable success.”

Hannah Casey-Burnett graduated from Northumbria with a first-class honours degree in 2013. After completing a two-year extended placement with Greggs as part of her course she was offered full time employment with the company and has been promoted into high profile managerial roles.

Commenting on her experience Hannah said: “Having the option of pursuing a degree which integrated work-based learning as the main focus of the course was a must. Greggs has invested in me from the very start of my career path, allowing me to demonstrate my potential within the organisation and gain an in-depth understanding of the organisation at such an early stage in my career.

“I have worked in many parts of the business throughout my time with Greggs, enabling me to build up key relationships across a diverse workforce, from front line staff in the shops to the operating Board of Directors. Ultimately this experience has allowed me to secure a senior role as Category Planning Manager, exercising my potential and driving my development further.”

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