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From punk band to pall bearer – Funeralcare’s 1000th apprentice

The Co-operative Funeralcare is celebrating the recruit of its 1000th apprentice, as it commits to continue to recruit an apprentice a day during 2015.

And the apprentice in question – dad of two Jon Richards – comes from an unconventional background; he was a singer in a punk band.

Jon, 45, who has joined as an apprentice funeral services operative based in Watford, applied to the scheme after experiencing the services of Funeralcare last year when his best friend died.

“During those incredibly difficult days, the caring nature of the funeral profession stayed with me,” he explained.

“From the most devastating of circumstances I have been able to develop a career. You’d think there’s no prouder moment than being on stage with my band, but the sense of pride from caring for families at their most difficult time is something I wish I had discovered earlier in my life.”

The Co-operative Funeralcare launched an apprenticeship in funeral operations and services in 2013.

Delivered in partnership with learndirect, the training incorporates a QCF Level 2 and a QCF Level 3 in Funeral Operations and Services (formerly known as NVQ).

Since its launch, the scheme has attracted applicants from age 18 to 70, with recruits ranging from school leavers to those embarking on a career change.

Karen Fenton, Head of Human Resources for The Co-operative Funeralcare said: “We started the apprenticeship programme to provide people from all walks of life with a unique opportunity to develop a caring career in funerals.

“Since then, we’ve welcomed apprentices from nurses, travel agents, civil servants and IT professionals. As long as someone possesses compassion, empathy and excellent service and organisational skills, we can teach everything else on the job.”

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