This is the second year of the Kingfisher International Graduate Programme, which has now extended its reach to Castorama France and B&Q China. The aim of the scheme is to recruit multilingual and mobile early talent to work for two years in Commercial roles in different Kingfisher Operating Companies.
This year eight of the graduates will work at both Castorama France and B&Q UK & Ireland, whilst two will spend their first year at B&Q UK & Ireland before transferring to B&Q China in September 2014. They will join the Commercial teams, where they will be responsible for an end to end product buying process, which involves product development, supplier briefing, assessment, and negotiation, getting product onto shelf and assessing customer feedback. One of the graduates joins the scheme from his role as a Junior Buyer, Tools at Brico D?p?t France, while the rest have just left university.
The remaining three graduates will be joining the newly launched Kingfisher IT Services (KITS) Graduate Programme. These graduates will spend their time learning about IT across our businesses in the UK and France. With omnichannel retailing being a major focus across the Group, the KITS graduates will gain first-hand knowledge of how systems and processes are being implemented to deliver this. They will be based at B&Q's UK head office in Southampton, and all of them live locally or attended a local university.
Commenting on the International Graduate Programme, Liz Bell, Group Talent Development Director, said: "We are delighted that we have been able to extend the International Graduate Programme to Castorama France and B&Q China in 2013. The success of the current programme, which began in 2012 between Brico D?p?t France and B&Q UK & Ireland, has ultimately led to this exciting development."
"The goal of each of our graduate programmes is to create a strong young talent pool for the commercial and IT teams across all of our Operating Companies. Developing our One Team leadership group is a key part of our Creating the Leader strategy so it is vital that we invest in talent in the early stages of their careers. With our international reach we can offer graduates the opportunity to travel between businesses and markets, gaining unrivalled experience and insight into international retailing."
Commenting on the Kingfisher IT Services Graduate Programme Sandra Hailstone, Head of HR Kingfisher Corporate Functions, said: "The KITS Graduate Programme will develop future talent to ensure we deliver the right technology to keep Kingfisher ahead of its competitors as a leading international, omnichannel retailing group in the digital era."
With candidates invited to apply from the UK, France and China, the recruitment process for 2013 broke new ground by using online video technology at the first-round interview stage. Each candidate uploaded filmed answers to a set of pre-recorded questions to an online portal. The approach meant that the candidates and the interviewers could log in to the portal to record or review the interviews at any time and from any location.
Liz Bell added: "The use of this new technology reflects the rise in online, digital communications now used so frequently by potential recruits, and Kingfisher's commitment to developing its omnichannel capabilities right across the Group, not just in retail operations. With our candidates and HR teams based in different markets around Europe and China, it proved hugely convenient in that it eliminated travel time and costs for everyone involved, and with that saved the associated carbon emissions."