The programme, which starts in September, will offer 15 graduates an unrivalled opportunity to become a store manager in 12-months.

Operating alongside the Asda graduate schemes, where trainees spend two years in Asda’s home office, distribution centres or large stores, the new fast-track programme will be exclusively based in Asda’s smaller format, supermarket stores – providing a path into retail management.

Successful applicants will learn how to run the business and how to lead a team of up to up to 30 colleagues, before taking up a permanent position in one of Asda’s 175 supermarkets in October 2013.

The scheme, which is now open for applications, builds on the company’s commitment to youth employment and skills development. In addition to the fast-track programme, the retailer also offers 41 other graduate opportunities across nine schemes including legal, property, finance, marketing and store development.

Last year, Asda also launched the Asda Skills Academy, an accredited programme of apprenticeship training designed to offer a vocational alternative to university. Launched in partnership with City & Guilds, the scheme offers qualifications ranging from a Level 2 (GCSEs) to a Level 4 (HND) in areas including customer service and fresh food.

Commenting on the launch of the fast-track scheme, Hayley Tatum, Asda’s people director said: “Our colleagues are the lifeblood of our business, so we are always looking at new ways to attract the next generation of retail talent.

“Through the course of this fast-track scheme, our trainees will not only be given first class training and be exposed to every element of the Asda business, but they will also quickly be making decisions that will make a real difference to thousands of customers every week.”

The Asda graduate fast-track scheme is open to anyone with a 2:2 degree with a passion for retail and customer service.