Friday the 13th March was not an unlucky day for 33 South & City College students who successfully graduated from the Morrisons Pre-employment Training Programme. All students were previously unemployed, looking for work and from 18 to 60+ years old.
This was the first time locally that Morrisons had partnered with Longbridge & Selly Oak Job Centres (DWP) and the college to identify the right candidates and ensure they were upskilled.
After Morrisons bought the old Co-Op store in Stirchley, they needed to recruit many more staff and approached the DWP to help source suitable candidates for two-weeks of pre-employment training. The college was then brought into the partnership to provide the specialised and tailored support in the recruitment and training for the retail sector.
The Job Centre and college worked together to attract applicants, run a telephone interview day and then the 80 successful candidates were invited to a college assessment day. By the end of the day, 40 candidates passed the requirements to attend the training. The training was customised and developed by the college to meet the specific requirements of Morrisons and also to provide qualifications to all that took part. Training included customer service, communication, food safety, equality and diversity, resolving complaints and skills such as CV writing and interview techniques, positive mind-set and much more.
At the graduation ceremony, Alison from the Longbridge Job Centre said. “This is the best part of my job, to come to ceremonies like this and see our customers who have grown in confidence and self-belief, go forward with their lives. We hope the positive outcomes will mean that Morrisons will be happy to use the partnership again. It really does change lives.”
61 year old Swidborn Hanson from Quinton, who had previously been an unemployed carer and bus driver for 7 years said, “I now have a brighter future. I have an aim, a goal and direction. Enjoyed the interaction with the rest of the students and the team spirit. Really looking forward to hopefully working at Morrisons in the near future.”
Karen Hancocks, People Manager for Morrisons added, “We have a need to recruit 120 colleagues and all 33 who are graduating today, will be invited to interview, having passed this training with flying colours. It’s looking likely that we will take them all on.
“The success of this partnership has attracted attention nationally and Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State DWP visited us to find out more.”
“As a tutor of this course,” said Dawne Hay from South & City College, “it was extremely rewarding to work with students who were so motivated and focussed. To witness the transformation in confidence and self-esteem, it is clear to see the dramatic improvement of students’ personal and vocational development.”
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