HR Director of Morrisons to step down next month

The group HR and communications director at Morrisons has announced he will leave the supermarket retailer at the end of June.

Norman Pickavance, who has been questioned by the BIS Select Committee over the apprenticeship programme at Morrisons, will leave “to pursue opportunities” elsewhere.

Dalton Philips, the chief executive of Morrisons, said: “Norman has been pivotal in making Morrisons an award winning employer.

“He has transformed our HR function and has been a great advocate for developing people from all backgrounds across the business.

“We wish him well for his future.”

Mr Pickavance will continue his work as a non-executive director at Create, a social enterprise which helps support homeless and disadvantaged people back into work.

Gary Stott, deputy chair of Create, has confirmed Mr Pickavance will be receiving “no salary or remuneration” for the on-going position, which includes being chair of the board.

“I think that Norman has a tremendous career history and a passion to see people’s lives transformed through the experience of work,” Mr Stott said.

“I am sure he will be using the next few months to work with a number of different organisations that are close to his heart and share his passion.”

FE Week revealed in March how Elmfield Training, a private training provider which delivers apprenticeships at Morrisons, donated £200,000 to Create.

Mr Pickavance was then questioned alongside Ged Sydall, chief executive of Elmfield Training, during an evidence session held by the BIS Select Committee for their inquiry into apprenticeships.

Ministers asked Mr Pickavance if the supermarket would have continued the training attributed to each apprenticeship had they not received government funding.

“We would have done it anyway,” Mr Pickavance said.

“We do not receive any money from the government purse for the training that we provide.

“All the training that we deliver is at Morrisons’ cost, and so it should be.”

He added: “We use the government money through a third-party provider, because we are not experts in accrediting people and we are not experts in national standards.”

Mr Pickavance was questioned further during the BBC One Panorama programme “The Great Apprentice Scandal”.

I am sure he will be using the next few months to work with a number of different organisations that are close to his heart and share his passion

The show revealed that 40 per cent of the company’s workforce was on an apprenticeship last year, with more than two thirds aged 25 or above.

“Forty per cent of people are trying to get a basic qualification,” Mr Pickavance told the BBC.

“People who don’t leave school with a qualification often feel they don’t have access and don’t see the skilled jobs or managerial position as something they can aspire to.”

He later added: “Actually when you look at the results that are being delivered through this programme, with a private provider, we’re doing something that is actually exemplary in terms of the qualifications people get.”