Seventeen long-term unemployed people from Tavistock are celebrating after graduating from an intensive six-week training course to take on roles at Tesco’s new superstore in the town when it opens in September.
The retailer joined forces with Devon County Council earlier this year in a unique partnership to help unemployed people in Tavistock get back into work.
Tesco committed to offering a number of roles, such as team support, counter work, stock control, checkout and warehouse vacancies, to locals who had been out of work for more than six months, and have been working with Learn Devon, the Council’s Adult and Community Learning Service, and Job Centre Plus, to provide pre-employment training.
Those completing the course all achieved a Level 1 or Level 2 Customer Service qualification and gained food-hygiene certificates. They were also assessed in maths, English and ICT skills, and will each be guaranteed between 16 and 30 hours of employment with the new store each week.
A celebratory event was held at the Alexander Centre, and was attended by senior leaders from Tesco and local dignitaries, including the Deputy Mayor of Tavistock, Cllr Mandy Ewings, who presented the graduates with their certificates.
Speaking for Tesco, Charlotte Allatt, Partnership Manager at Tavistock who has been responsible for guiding applicants through the programme, said:
“I’m absolutely delighted for each and every one of our graduates. They’ve each shown real dedication through an intensive six weeks’ training programme.
“Our first Regeneration Partnership store opened in 2000 in Leeds, and since then over 60 of our sites have been involved, creating more than 6,000 jobs for people who’d previously been out of work for more than six months.
“We’re fully committed to supporting local employment and can’t wait to open in a few weeks’ time”.
Cllr Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Learn Devon, said:
“One of our priorities in Devon is to support people who are out of work by providing opportunities for them to boost their employability skills, so I am pleased that Learn Devon has been involved in helping Tescos recruit in Tavistock.
“This partnership project has given valuable jobs to local people how have been out of work for some time, which is excellent news.
“I wish all the graduates every success as they begin their new jobs soon.”
One of the graduates, Caroline Quin, who lives in Tavistock, added:
“I’m really excited. It feels great to be in regular employment and I’m looking forward to engaging with our customers too.
“It’s brilliant to have been here from the start too, before the store opens. I’ve already met lots of other colleagues who I’ll be working with and it feels like I’m part of a team. I like that – the sense of being part of a team”.
Caroline will start working on the Hot Deli counter when the new superstore opens Plymouth Road in a few weeks.