An apprentice at a Lichfield company is celebrating after completing her qualification despite the coronavirus crisis.

Display technician Sophie Mead works at Central England Co-op’s business support centre in the city.

The 24-year-old has spent the past year making signage and displays for stores to allow her to complete the NVQ Level 2 signmaking apprenticeship.

Sophie Mead preparing signage for a Central England Co-op project

“I enjoy of seeing my work in store. I feel that the display department has massively helped create the new look and feel for our businesses and helped bring an idea into reality.

“I’m proud to be part of that journey.

“I have learned so many skills during my apprenticeship – and I’m sure I will still carry on learning more even when it’s ended.”

Sophie Mead

After completing a degree at university and working in one of the company’s stores, Sophie decided she wanted to be involved in a creative, hands-on job and opted for the apprenticeship delivered via Walsall College.

She said the skills had allowed her to learn in a variety of ways.

“I can adapt to a wide range of work environments, from the workshop at the business support centre in Lichfield, to a building site of a new store, or even conference venues.

“Ultimately, I would like to go higher up in the business. I feel that relocating from a store to head office has helped me with this, as it has shown me parts of the business that I would not have had an insight into.”

Sophie Mead

Central England Co-op’s display manager, Mark Allen, said Sophie had been a valuable addition to the team.

“She has shown great dedication in successfully completing her NVQ – especially after completing the final part of the course during ‘lockdown’.

“Sophie has approached all the tasks she has been given with great enthusiasm and has developed her skills and proficiency to become an important member of the team.”

Mark Allen


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.