Asda will offer BA degrees / Flickr (Dominic's pics)

The supermarket Asda is offering fully funded BA degrees to employees

The supermarket giant Asda is launching a three-year undergraduate degree.

30 employees at the supermarket chain, which currently has over 500 stores across the UK, will be able to take a degree in distribution or retail operations at Middlesex University. The employees will keep their jobs at the store, and study alongside work.

The scheme is being formally launched today, after a successful pilot programme last year. It will be open to all employees who have worked for Asda for at least six months.

Asda’s Executive People Director Hayley Tatum said: “The current economic climate - coupled with the spiralling costs of higher education - means that many of our colleagues have missed out on university degrees.”

The degrees will be entirely funded by Asda, who are hoping to create a pool of ‘home grown talent’ as future leaders of Asda. Employees will take 12 days of classroom workshops, online study, peer networking and work-based assessment.

The director for corporate engagement at Middlesex University David Williams expressed his excitement over the coming programme. He commented: “Education and industry must keep innovating in order to provide the skilled workforce our economy needs and a big part of this is offering different ways of gaining high level professional qualifications.”

A spokesperson for the Business, Innovation, and Skills department (BIS) said: “Businesses recognise the benefits to themselves and their employees of working closely with the higher education sector. Courses like those being launched by Asda ensure that employees are equipped with the right skills and techniques for the job.”

The supermarket isn’t the first to launch a degree. Last year Morrisons launched a foundation degree in Supermarket relations, and KFC are also known to offer employees a degree in fast food.