Job success for graduate Sophie (22)

A Mansfield-based sports retailer has taken a leaf out of Sir Alan Sugar’s book, with an innovative new scheme aimed at recruiting the best possible recruit.

National retail chain Sports Direct, which has its national headquarters in Mansfield, recently brought in 24 high-calibre graduates to compete for a job in the head office e-commerce team.

Over a gruelling eight weeks, the candidates were grilled on a range of skills, including search engine optimisation and social media marketing.

And the stakes were high, with the winner receiving £10,000, their final year’s student fees paid off, and the chance to work within the head office team.

The overall winner was Sophie Sophie MacGregor (22) from Alfreton.

She said: “The scheme was a massive opportunity to learn a wide range of new skills and form new friendships.

“The scheme has benefitted me not only in the short term, but has also done wonders for my future career, starting from within SportsDirect’s head office”.

Three runners up also had their their final year tuition fees paid, and eleven of the graduates were offered a full- time job at the end of the programme.

A company spokesman said: “They took on some exciting challenges which helped not only the business but their work experience.”

Applications for the 2014 programme will open soon.