Wanted: 1,000 future leaders with a passion for food

    
    Loblaw Companies Limited seeks recent graduates with fresh ideas and a
    can-do attitude
    

BRAMPTON, ON, Sept. 14 /CNW/ - While grocery shoppers walk the aisles in search of back-to-school snacks and local autumn produce, Loblaw Companies Limited is combing the country for recent graduates with a passion for food to join the Company's grad@Loblaw program. This national program provides recent graduates with the opportunity to kick-start their careers in a structured and supportive environment.

With career options for young Canadians at near record lows, grad@Loblaw can help recent graduates identify and follow their interests as full-time colleagues of Loblaw. According to Statistics Canada, the 2009 summer labour market was the most challenging for those aged 15 to 24, which would include recent graduates. Their average unemployment rate in August 2009 was 16.4 per cent, the highest August unemployment rate for students since comparable data became available in 1977. grad@Loblaw identifies and develops emerging talent by providing practical, hands-on business experience and full time employment. Loblaw will hire 1,000 graduates over the next five years through the program. Interested graduates who want to contribute to the Company's ongoing innovation can apply online at www.loblawgrad.ca by October 9, 2009.

"We believe that to be a great place to work, we must continually look for ways to inject new life into our organization, including recruiting people with fresh thinking and a can-do attitude," said Judy McCrie, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Loblaw Companies Limited. "At Loblaw, our colleagues are our greatest strength, and the grad@Loblaw program is just one way that we are committed to attracting and retaining the best people to help ensure our long term success."

During the 18-month program, graduates rotate through three areas of the Company beginning with six months working at a store location, the core of Loblaw's business, gaining first-hand experience in the fast-paced dynamics of retail operations and building leadership skills. Following that, graduates spend three months in merchandising operations, learning how Loblaw stays competitive through buying, promotions and inventory management. The final phase is a nine month placement in an area for which the graduate was hired for at the onset of the program, such as store management, marketing, merchandising, supply chain, information technology, human resources or finance, where the graduates are able to apply the information and experience gained in the previous rotations.

"It is exciting to see this type of program being offered to graduates interested in pursuing a career in retail," commented Elizabeth Evans, Director, Ted Rogers School of Retail Management at Ryerson University. "Students benefit tremendously from the opportunity to take their educational background and apply it in a supportive, professional work environment where they gain real-world expertise. grad@Loblaw in particular gives graduates a 360 degree perspective of the company so they can gain experiences in many different areas, setting a strong foundation for future success."

"One of the things I like most about the grad@Loblaw program is the chance to see all facets of the company ranging from supply chain to merchandising, which is helpful in understanding how key decisions affect different parts of the business," said Jocelyn Bishop, a recent Retail Management graduate from Ryerson University and current participant at the six month mark of the program. "We're also very lucky to get to work with people at all levels within the business who truly want to see you succeed. I look forward to gaining more skills in this field and taking on greater responsibilities that will help me grow my career at Loblaw."

Jocelyn is not alone. According to a recent Leger Marketing poll*, when asked for the top three reasons why they would apply for a job, working Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 identified the following:

    
    -  The job posting matched their skill set (36%)
    -  The job offered experience in a field of work of interest to them
       (35%)
    -  The job included an outstanding salary (40%)
    

Approximately one-quarter of these respondents also identified opportunities for advancement as a determining factor.

Information for Applicants

The grad@Loblaw program is open to post-secondary students who have graduated in the past 24 months. The next group of 100 participants will join the company in January 2010. A further 100 graduates will start in June 2010. Applications are available online at www.loblawgrad.ca and the current deadline for submission is October 9, 2009. Information is also available at the grad@Loblaw page on Facebook.

Loblaw is also hosting campus information sessions at the following locations across Canada this fall:

    
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    Date       School                                        Location
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    Sept. 16   Ryerson University                            Toronto, Ont.
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    Sept. 23   Concordia University                          Montreal, Que.
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    Sept. 28   University of Saskatchewan                    Saskatoon, SK
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    Sept. 28   University of Ottawa                          Ottawa, Ont.
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    Sept. 29   Wilfrid Laurier University                    Waterloo, Ont.
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    Sept. 29   University of Alberta                         Edmonton, Alta.
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    Sept. 30   University of Manitoba                        Winnipeg, Man.
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    Sept. 30   University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM)       Montreal, Que.
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    Sept. 30   University of Calgary                         Calgary, Alta.
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    Oct. 1     Dalhousie University                          Halifax, N.S.
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    Oct. 5     University of Guelph                          Guelph, Ont.
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    Oct. 6     University of British Columbia                Vancouver, B.C.
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    Oct. 6     HEC Montreal                                  Montreal, Que.
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About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 139,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice(R), no name(R) and Joe Fresh Style(R) brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial(R) services and offers the PC(R) points loyalty program

*Online Omnibus poll of 1,521 Canadians conducted by Leger Marketing for Loblaw between August 17 and August 20, 2009 with a margin of error of +\-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview please contact: Karen Gumbs, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited, (905) 459-2500 ext. 616041, karen.gumbs@loblaw.ca; Melita Vega, Senior Consultant, Hill & Knowlton, (416) 413-4743, melita.vega@hillandknowlton.ca


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