Be part of what we do

Department Manager in Training

When it comes to creating future managers, we want you to be a big part of what we do. If you'd rather get out there, than go to Uni' - we have the answer – A fantastic salary, lots of support and the opportunity to be running your own department within a year.

The Programme

When you work for a big retailer like Sainsbury's, there's one thing you notice straightaway - things move fast here! So you shouldn't be surprised when we tell you that, as a Department Manager in Training, you could be running your own department in 12 months.

The Department Manager in Training Programme is a fantastic opportunity to get a head start in the world of work. It's perfect for people who don't want to go to university - but would much rather be learning about retail, developing management skills and earning a great salary. Studying doesn't suit everyone. Here, you go straight into a real job, learn on the shop floor and get more responsibility, much earlier.

The Scheme is open to all and your background or experience are not important. What interests us more is what you can achieve in the future.

You need at least two A-Levels or equivalent, but it's not necessarily your academic qualifications that set you apart. You stand out because you're keen to impress. You're unfazed by long hours and big challenges - instead, you'll love the idea of being involved when there's so much going on.

And, over the next 12 months, you'll grab every chance to learn so you're ready to run your own department, whether that's Grocery, Bakery, Fresh Produce, or a non-food area like Clothing.

Frequently asked questions

How long does the programme last?

It takes 12 months to complete the Department Manager in Training Programme. By the end, you will have learned all about retail, about the Sainsbury's store and about how to get the most from the people in your team.

Will I join a store near where I live?

When applying for a role on the Department Manager in Training programme you will need to apply for a specific location. However once you have completed the 12 months Training period you may be required to work at a different location.

Will I be assessed during the Training Programme?

The Training Programme is very fast-paced - but we also have to make sure that we are moving at the right speed for you. So you will have regular updates with your Store Manager, to ensure that you are progressing and performing well as well as attending development days with your fellow Department Managers in Training

How much support do I get?

Throughout the Programme, support and help are always close at hand. You'll have lots of people to learn from in your immediate store environment.

Will I get a qualification?

The Training Programme does not lead to a formal qualification. However, you gain an unrivalled level of retail experience and that will form the basis for a rapid rise to management level.

How much will I earn?

Starting salary for the programme varies depending on location and ranges from £18,000 to £23,000 for those taking a position in London. However this will be reviewed once you have completed your training.

What will the interview be like?

As part of your application for the Department Manager in Training Scheme you will be asked to complete a number of assessments.

Online: You will be asked a number of basic questions to establish if you are eligible to apply for the scheme. You will also be asked to answer several Situational Judgement Test questions which give you the opportunity to demonstrate how you would deal with typical Department Manager in Training challenges. If you are successful you will go through to the next stage.
Typical Time: 30-45 minutes to complete

Telephone Interview: Initially you will be asked a number of basic questions to establish if you are eligible to apply for the scheme. You will also be asked one or more motivation and competency based questions to establish whether you have the right motivation and competencies for the scheme. If you are successful you will go through to the next stage.
Typical Time: 10-20 minutes to complete

Assessment Centre: At the assessment centre you will have a competency based interview which will give you another opportunity to demonstrate that you have you have the right competencies and experience for the scheme. You will also take part in a group exercise which will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your team working and problem solving skills
Typical Time: 2-3 hours

This is followed by a formal interview, so you will need to be fully prepared. You can find out lots more information about our organisation on the main careers site.

Rewards and Benefits

We offer all our colleagues a comprehensive total reward package - not only do you get a great deal from the day you join, but as you develop your career with us you'll also qualify for additional long-term rewards. So, the longer you stay, the greater your rewards

Your colleague discount card

One of the great things about being part of the Sainsbury's team is that when you have completed six months service, you will become eligible for a colleague discount card. This entitles you and a nominated second user to a discount on shopping at Sainsbury's stores and through our online shopping channels.

Annual bonus scheme

We operate a number of annual discretionary site/division specific bonus schemes. The rules, eligibility criteria and targets required for payment are communicated annually.

Family friendly policies

We offer enhanced maternity and paternity benefits, and have comprehensive policies covering adoption & parental leave, career breaks and leave for fertility treatment. We also operate flexible working practices.

Parental leave

All colleagues with over one year's continuous service can take up to 13 weeks' unpaid leave for each child under the age of five. You can take that leave in blocks of one week, up to a maximum of four weeks in any one year. There are also special provisions allowing time off for parents with disabled children up to the age of 18 years.

Childcare vouchers

We are pleased to offer a flexible way for colleagues to meet the cost of childcare, where colleague's are able to exchange a portion of their salary for Childcare Vouchers. Vouchers are non-taxable and exempt from National Insurance contributions and therefore represent a saving for colleagues who receive them as part of their total reward package.


An important part of our total reward package is our pension scheme. Sainsbury's offer all new colleagues the option to join a contributory pension scheme, the J Sainsbury Stakeholder Pension Plan, or if you are starting on grade C6 / 6S and above, the Sainsbury's Self Invested Pension Plan (SIPP). For more information please visit

Life Assurance

Life assurance is provided to all members of Sainsbury's pension schemes, at the rate of four times your annual basic salary in the event of death in service.

Save as you earn (SAYE)

Sainsbury's also makes an annual offer to colleagues to save between £5 and £250 per pay period for a fixed 3 or 5 year term.

Sainsbury's Share Purchase Plan (SSPP)

The SSPP provides you with the opportunity to purchase shares in J Sainsbury Plc out of pre-tax salary.

You Choose' Voluntary Benefits Programme

As one of the UK's largest employers, we have negotiated reduced rates for our colleagues on a wide range of benefits, products and services from a wide range of suppliers - from motoring and dental insurance to airport car parking and travel. All Sainsbury's colleagues can access these great savings.

Career breaks

There may be a time when you need to take a long break from work, for example to pursue personal development. Sainsbury's offers eligible colleagues the opportunity to apply for a career break for up to one year.

Sainsbury's Social Association (SSA)

Sainsbury's Social Association (SSA) is a social club open for you and your partner to join for a nominal membership fee. Numerous outings and leisure activities are organised and are usually discounted to members. As a member you are also entitled to exclusive leisure discounts across a whole range of services.

Awards for long service

We like to show our thanks to our long serving colleagues for their hard work by rewarding continuous service at key employee milestones. Service is recognised at 5, 10, 15, 25 and 40 years service.

With the exception of pensions, benefits are non contractual and varying terms may apply.