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Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green attends Tesco’s Regeneration Partnership graduation ceremony
2:00pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
MORE than 100 delighted residents from Trafford are heading back to work, thanks to a project supporting the long-term unemployed.
Tesco has held a graduation ceremony to congratulate people, who had previously been out of work, on completing their training to join its 'Trafford regeneration partnership' store in Stretford.
The new store, which will open in November, has created more than 200 jobs altogether.
Now in their 13th year, Tesco’s Regeneration Partnership stores guarantee that up to 40 per cent of new jobs go to local people who have been out of work for six months or more. Since the first scheme in Leeds back in 2000, the partnership scheme has helped more than 5,000 jobseekers from across the UK get back into employment.
The Trafford regeneration partnership scheme has been run by Tesco together with Job Centre Plus, Trafford Council, Manchester City Council and Work Solutions.
The graduates range in age from 20 to over 60, and include single parents, older people made redundant, younger people struggling to find their first job and residents who had been claiming incapacity benefits. Some had spent years out of work, while others had never been employed.
One graduate, Michael Martin from Altrincham, had applied for a staggering 500 jobs after being made redundant from his role as an HR Manager for a hotel group. After two years of being unemployed, he has landed a post at Tesco’s new store in Stretford. He will put his years of customer service experience to the test when he starts his new job on the Deli counter, when the store opens.
“I searched for a new job for more than two years,” said Michael, aged 59. “After 28 years with the hotel and hospitality industry, it was so disheartening not being able to find anything, despite applying for hundreds of jobs.”
Now Michael’s persistence has paid off and his determination to find work has led him to a role he is relishing.
The graduation ceremony, held at The Point at Lancashire County Cricket Ground, followed an eight week training programme to prepare them for entering the world of work.
At the beginning of the summer, over 800 applicants took part in skills workshops and interview training ahead of final selection. The 100 successful Trafford candidates then completed an eight-week training course including confidence building, team-work and other skills to prepare them for the world of work.
Another successful graduate is dad-of-two Jamie O’Beng, a 27-year-old former floor salesman from Stretford, who had found being out of work was taking its toll. He’ll be working as a team leader in the warehouse when the new store opens in November.
Jamie said: “I was starting to drift and felt like I didn’t have a purpose. But the course really helped me get back into a routine of getting up, looking smart and going to work.
“I am feeling so positive now and my children were the driving force into me getting back to having a job. I’ve worked hard and been given a really good position, which I can’t wait to start.”
Matthew Magee, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager, said: “This is a proud day for our team – but as ever the stars of the show are our new recruits who have come from the local community in Trafford. Over the last two months they have worked hard to complete our training programme, giving them qualifications in retail skills and customer service. They now have the ability and confidence to build a successful career with Tesco, and their enthusiasm and commitment will ensure our new store is a great place to shop.”
The graduation ceremony was attended by Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green.
She said: “I'm delighted that new jobs are being created in Trafford, and congratulate the 100 local residents who've secured employment with Tesco. With unemployment so high, people are desperate to work, and the commitment of the new recruits is demonstrated by the time they've already spent going through Tesco's initial training programme and gaining retail skills and qualifications. I wish all the new employees the best of success in their future career.”