A.S. Watson Group today announces a wide-ranging set of commitments and actions to help build a more equitable and inclusive society pledging to offer 200,000 job opportunities for young people globally, and of which 25,000 jobs will be provided across the UK in Superdrug and Savers by 2030, equipping them with essential skills to prepare them for a job in the retail sector.

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the global labour market, with global youth employment dropping during the pandemic. Many companies scaled back hiring during this time due to the economic downturn, making it difficult for young people to secure employment.

In a bid to combat the downturn in employment, AS Watson (Superdrug and Savers) has developed a wide-ranging set of commitments and actions to support young people’s career development and help build a more equitable and inclusive society. The pledge includes:

  • Offering 200,000 job opportunities for Young People globally by 2030, equipping young people with essential skills to prepare them for a job in the retail sector
  • Offering 25,000 job opportunities (out of the 200,000 global pledge) for 16-23-year-olds across the UK by 2030 and equipping young people with essential skills to prepare them for a job in the retail sector
  • Investing 5 million global training and coaching hours to upskill the younger generation for a future in O+O (Offline plus Online) by 2030 from training sessions to on-the-job coaching

Amy Davies, People Director at Superdrug and Savers,says, “We understand healthy business is only possible with a healthy society and believe that decisive action is needed to build a society that nurtures talent, embraces diversity, and improves livelihoods. Our pledge will create a better, stronger business; ready for the huge societal changes we are experiencing today.”

Joanne Mackie, Group People Director (Europe) of A.S. Watson Group, adds, “Young people are an important source of talent and creativity; by developing their skills, we can make our business stronger and fitter for the future. We are not only offering job opportunities, we’re also providing training and coaching to give young people the skills they need to work in the new world of O+O retail. We plan to provide 5 million training hours for our global workforce to embrace the future. We look forward to 200,000 talented young people joining us between now and 2030 to help fuel the sustainable growth engine for A.S. Watson.”

Employment Advice and Support

The pledge follows the work already achieved by Superdrug and Savers on their Apprenticeship Schemes which have been running for over 15 years. The schemes take school leavers from an apprenticeship level 2 (GSCE equivalent) to level 6 (degree equivalent) and Superdrug has been recognised as the top Apprenticeship Employer in Retail. Since its launch in 2007, over 4,500 people have achieved qualification and since 2017, 30% of apprenticeship graduates have stayed within the Superdrug and Saver businesses.

Following the pandemic, Superdrug and Savers have worked together to add to their apprenticeship scheme and offer a new Life skills Programme which includes lessons and help in financial awareness, budgeting, health and wellbeing and preparing for interviews. The Life Skills Programme has been introduced to support those effected by the pandemic, allowing them to hone skills that they may have not learnt or lost during the long lockdown periods. The business also offers functional math’s skills, up to a GCSE equivalent in some government cold spot areas to help to reduce barriers around applying for apprenticeships.

Kayleigh Arnold, who began as an apprentice and is now a Superdrug Assistant Store Manager, says, “The Apprenticeship Programme has been transformational and eye-opening for me, helping me understand modern roles in retail. I’m proud to have been given so many valuable opportunities at Superdrug. Having retail as my first job has turned out to be an extremely rewarding experience.”


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