Tesco developed the scheme, designed to use the leadership expertise of ex-services personnel and resettle them back into civilian life, with support from The Career Transition Partnership and the Ministry of Defence.
Officers and senior non-commissioned officers with less than six months of service left complete a work experience placement, giving them an opportunity to experience first-hand what a line manager role within Tesco is like and whether it's the right career move for them.
The project was established in 2007 and Tesco has filled over 40 management roles with ex-service personnel since it began. Tesco recruitment drives take place at Army Resettlement Career Fairs and management opportunities are advertised on the Career Transition Partnership website.
Recruitment periods take place twice a year in September and February, with the most recent drive in September 2010 receiving 350 applications, and recruitment events full to capacity. Two current service personnel even flew over from Germany to attend a recruitment presentation. Over the next year, Tesco expects over 1,500 service personnel to attend its recruitment events.
Former Royal Artillery captain Alastair Williamson is store manager at Tesco in Surrey Quays in London and helped develop the recruitment programme for Service leavers. He said: "Serving in the Forces is a lifestyle. But when your service comes to an end, many people, of all ranks, are often at a loss as to where to take their career and how their skills will transfer to civilian life.
"I served in the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Artillery for eight years. You come away from an Army career with strong qualities such as drive, motivation and, of course, team-working skills. Serving in the Forces also gives you the ability to influence and develop those around you, manage performance and adapt quickly to changing situations.
"I now manage a store that employs hundreds of staff and serves hundreds of thousands of customers every week. Tesco is a great place to work. It really is a military operation and the desire to deliver a great customer experience is just the same as regimental pride to be the best."
Hayley Tatum, personnel director at Tesco, added: "To be a successful retailer, we need a team that is motivated, focused and trained, who will work hard to deliver what our customers want.
"Armed forces personnel have brilliant transferrable skills and represent a new and exciting source of talent with many of the strengths and qualities that we value in our business."