Story: Laura Moya
The Tesco job guarantee scheme for the new Spital Hill store is now well underway. The scheme, which initially received around 900 applications, now has 120 trainees working together over an 8-week period in preparation for the store’s opening.
As part of their planning application and partnership agreement, Tesco had promised that local residents would benefit from employment opportunities. The process was open to those who were unemployed for 6 months and was promoted specifically in Burngreave and Fir Vale to give local residents the best chance possible of gaining a job at the new store on Spital Hill.
Each applicant attended an open day where they were given advice on a number of topics; such as interview techniques, literacy and completing the application form.
We interviewed four successful candidates: Jason, John, Roger, and a young mother, about their experiences and thoughts about the scheme and working for Tesco.
As a part of their training, candidates have been volunteering locally at St Peter’s Church and Verdon Recreation Centre, doing jobs including gardening, painting, and tidying up.
“The training has been great.” said the mother. “It boosts confidence and self-esteem, and gives you the chance to learn more about yourself.” The work they have been doing has even “made people enthusiastic” by encouraging locals to get involved as well. Along with the volunteering, team building exercises have been incorporated into the training, such as an assignment where they had to get into groups to promote Tesco and produce a radio jingle, poster and a newspaper article.
The scheme has also helped many people get back into work. Before being accepted, Jason was unemployed for three years due to a lack of jobs in engineering – his previous sector. Similarly, Roger was out of work for 12 years, and John hadn’t worked since his old job at a nearby pub. “You know it will be decent work at Tesco,” John said, “and it’s close to home.”
“Sheffield College, who have been providing the training, has done exceptionally well for all of us,” said Roger. “It’s important to feel satisfied in yourself.”
Although some residents are worried about what will happen to the local community once the store has opened, the trainees are confident that it will have a positive effect: “It will change the face of it,” they said.