More than 130 previously unemployed celebrate after completing unique scheme with Tesco’s new Blackley store

By Karl Dyer

Proud new workers were treated to a graduation ceremony after beating the unemployment blues through a unique programme at Tesco’s new Blackley store.

More than 130 residents of the area successfully completed an eight-week period of training and secured a job at the supermarket chain’s 40th regeneration store.

The Regeneration Partnership Scheme focuses on getting the long-term unemployed back into a secure job while also providing them with opportunities to progress.

Jo Frith, who ran the Regeneration Partnership Scheme at Blackley hailed the programme’s success and explained its importance.

“If you’ve been long term unemployed, it’s a very quick spiral into not believing in yourself,” she said. “These people’s horizons are very limited and it broadens those horizons.”

Ms Frith described the scheme as a unique package where local job centres, councils and Sale-based company IPB Communications worked alongside Tesco.

Residents applied for the scheme through a hotline before taking part in an open day, skills session and interview before embarking on an eight-week course combining training and work experience.

The Blackley store – which is now in full swing – is now the workplace of 50 previously unemployed residents ranging from the age of 16 to 68.

New worker John Musgrove said he had thought being young would be enough to walk straight into a job after college but this wasn’t the case.

“I was kind of in a deep depression,” he said. “Sitting at home everyday really got to me.”

He added that the training period was essential in getting to know his fellow workers and helped in making the transition into work as easy as possible.

Ms Frith also believed there was a ripple effect where employees’ families were also gaining from the scheme and the ceremony allowed them to celebrate with their loved ones while also giving them a confidence boost.

“It’s about believing. If you tell someone ‘I think you’re great’ then they’ll do a great job.”

Richard Brasher, Tesco’s UK Chief Executive, also praised the scheme that has helped 4,500 long-term unemployed into work over the last 11 years.

“In these tough times, schemes like this are more important than ever and we will keep creating opportunities,” he said.

“Once they are with us, we get a lot back in return with the local knowledge of our new staff proving invaluable with customers who tell us they are very happy shopping in an environment that reflects so closely the community they live in.”

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, also sang the scheme’s praises.

“Initiatives such as this, which create local jobs and help combat unemployment, are always hugely positive,” she said.

“Tesco’s commitment to this new store is particularly welcome during these difficult economic times.”

The new Blackley store also brings environmental benefits with a timber frame building making maximum use of natural light while also building a new library being as part of the development.


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