Co-op Training Stories

October 16, 2018
Co-op Training Stories

Co-op Training Stories

At Co-op, we are proud to offer our team members opportunities to learn and grow within their roles and within the company and cooperative system. And that's your teaser for our next Co-op Principle of the Day!

Co-op Principle  - Education, Training and Information


We want to tell you some stories about how this principle has affected several of our team members. Check out these stories: 


Andrew Richards, Bulk Petroleum Manager

While working full time as a pump attendant at the Minnedosa Gas Bar, I was approached about a 1-on-1 Management Training Program. I was told I would continue to work as a pump attendant, while completing this program that would help me obtain the skill set necessary to move forward in the company, so I decided that I would give it a try. While working through this course, I was able to attend workshops put on by FCL - it seemed like I was going to these workshops at least once a month. I always found it exciting to go to these courses, meet new people and learn new things that would help advance my career. Of course, free lunch was a neat perk as a young employee. The combination of learning from my manager on a day to day basis, and taking these courses was a crucial opportunity to better myself for the future.

I was successfully hired for a supervisor position about a year or so after this all started and completed my 1-on-1 training at this location with my new manager. I continued to regularly attend courses and I was promoted again about 6 months later to the Gas Bar/Hardware/ Fertilizer Manager in Erickson. Once settled in Erickson, I continued to take all the online training available to me, (about 40 courses) and from there I had completed just about all of the FCL Training seminars that fit my position.

At that time, I decided that I wanted to continue to my education further. Heritage Co-op (through FCL) offered a 75% tuition reimbursement for any courses (from a registered and approved school) I took that would benefit my job, so I went to Assiniboine Community College (ACC) and took a night class called Effective Supervision. Then I found out that if I obtained 27 credits in the “Business Management” section, I could graduate with a diploma, so I continued taking other courses that were helpful to me (Managing the HR function, Communications, Computer Systems, Organizational Behavior, etc.). Having the Co-op cover 75% of my tuition was amazing - without the reimbursement I likely wouldn’t have completed any of those classes that helped me become a better team member and team leader.

When the Bulk Petroleum Manager position was posted I felt prepared to apply for it, and I believe that one of the main reasons I got the job was because, with Co-op’s help, I was working hard at bettering myself every day. Once I started in this position, I finished up my Management Certificate at ACC, and am still continually looking ahead to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to me. I have continued to take seminars, online training, and webinars, and I have been lucky enough to do a few specialty courses in the last 3 years. I have taken two 3-day workshops called “Selling to Farm Business” and “Selling Breakthroughs”, as well as a training course all about Lubricants. I have my eye on a few more learning opportunities coming up and really do appreciate the support that Heritage Co-op has shown me in advancing my skills and knowledge. It is quite special to work for a company that believe in your capabilities, and invests time, money and resources into expanding your opportunities.


Cheryl Shackel – Assistant Grocery Manager, Brandon Food Store

Working for Heritage Co-op and the CRS has given me ample opportunities to learn and grow. Starting work at the age of 18 and quickly being recognized for hard work and dedication made it possible to get a full-time position and start paying into benefits and retirement. This opportunity lead to many hours of learning new and exciting things and gaining more responsibility. The more responsibilities I got the harder I worked and the more I was able to advance my career. With a lot of encouragement, direction from my Front End Manager and mentor, it wasn’t long until I was offered the opportunity to take the Advance 1- on-1 Manager Training. During this training, I had many was able to attend many other courses, and was coached through learning the ropes of management and what all comes with such a job, from people skills to office work. 

Once I completed this program, I had opportunities to continue to grow and advance within Heritage Co-op.  Receiving support and recognition from different team leaders helped me succeed and advance into my current position as the Assistant Grocery Manager at the Brandon Food Store. The support and knowledge I have received in the last 10 years from Heritage Co-op has made a huge impact on me as an individual, as a team member, and as a team leader. Heritage Co-op has helped me open doors to a future with endless opportunities. Every day I learn something new, every day I face a new challenge and because of that, every day I evolve and become a stronger employee and manager. This organization always pushes people forward and never holds back. I was very fortunate to have such a wonderful support team in my journey to management and I credit where I am today to such a great organization and continue to look forward to advancing my career and knowledge.  


Graeme Brown - Store Manager, Erickson Food Store

I have worked in the Co-op System for 23 years, and in that time I have attended many courses that assisted in developing and enhancing my skills, and my knowledge of the Co-op Retailing System. These courses and opportunities have helped me attain my current position as Store Manager at the Erickson Food Store.

I started my career working at Valleyview Co-op in Virden, and from there I took a position as Manager of the Oak Lake Food Store. In 2014, I started working for Heritage Co-op as the Assistant Grocery Manager at the Brandon Food Store, and in 2016, I started my current role.

While in this position, in 2017, I was presented with an opportunity to participate in the Dale Carnegie course, which focuses on developing self-confidence, leadership, team building and overall skills to help become a better manager. This course allowed me to grow as an individual and become a better team leader. I am grateful to Heritage Co-op for allowing me to take part in this course that no only enhanced my career, but also my personal growth.


Ryan Bauche - Manager, Erickson Gas Bar

I started working for Heritage Co-op in March, 2007 as a part-time pump attendant at the Richmond Gas Bar location. I quickly requested full-time hours and shortly after, that request was fulfilled. I’m unsure of the exact timeline but some time after that, my manager asked me if I’d be interested in a Manager Training Program, and I was extremely excited to accept.

I began learning and honing all the skills necessary - both practical and personal - to manage a gas station. Co-op’s training program was very hands on and included a lot of day courses that helped me develop in ways that benefited me in my personal life as well.

I continued the manager training program under the next manager at the Richmond location and accepted a supervisor position there in late 2008. After holding that position for a little over 4 years, I accepted the Manager position at the Erickson Gas Bar in 2013. The workplace is and continues to be the greatest and most effective classroom of all for me, and it may sound a bit cliché, but you really do learn something new every day. The training programs that Heritage Co-op has in place, which I was able to take advantage of, are extremely valuable, and have afforded me an amazing opportunity for continued self-development.