The Co-operative Group has seen a 263% increase in graduate job applicants after it revised its diversity programme three years ago.
The group looked to attract a wider range of applicants to achieve the broadest range of talent so removed age restrictions and minimum degree requirements.
The company also made it easier for ethnic minorities, gay men, lesbians and people with disabilities to apply for jobs.
Amanda Jones, head of diversity at the group, said: "We are looking for our future leaders. It is not about age, gender or ethnicity and while academic ability undoubtedly helps, it does not necessarily mean they are going to do well in a leadership role. For us it is about appointing the best possible person for the job and we can only be confident we have done that if we get the largest pool of applicants."
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