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600 job applications for 50 jobs at Waitrose in Leek

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 23, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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A new supermarket in Leek has attracted more than 600 job applications.

Over 600 people have applied for 50 jobs at the new Waitrose store in Leek, which is due to open in May.

The window for applications closed last week after the jobs were first advertised in February.

Waitrose has received a total of 606 applications for the new roles, which include full and part-time positions across all departments.

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With a policy to recruit as locally as possible, the retailer has worked with Jobcentre Plus to put forward candidates, including unemployed people.

The interview process will start this week with all new employees becoming Partners in the Waitrose business, entitling them to exclusive benefits, including shopping and leisure discounts, leisure and learning subsidies and a share in profits in the form of an annual bonus.

This year, Partners received 15 per cent of their annual wage in bonus, the equivalent of approximately eight weeks wage, representing a significant re-distribution of profits back into the areas in which the supermarket trades.

Becky Wollam, opening branch manager at the new Waitrose in Leek, said: "We have had a phenomenal response to our recruitment drive and are really encouraged by the calibre of applications we have received.

"We are delighted that so many people are eager to work for our business and look forward to a successful future at the Leek store."

Waitrose announced that it will be opening the new branch in Portland Street North after acquiring the Co-op store in in November 2013.

Around 115 Partners will be employed by Waitrose Leek, including 65 former Co-op employees.

A total of 27 trainees taking part in a special Work Based Academy at Buxton and Leek College will be among those being interviewed for the Waitrose jobs.

A team of eight men and 19 women at the college are working towards a BTEC Level One qualification in Work Skills at the college after being referred by Job Centre Plus advisers.

After pre-employment training in college, students are ferried from the Leek college campus to the Waitrose store in Buxton for work experience placements.

During their training, they are guided through the online application process and will be offered places at assessment sessions being held by Waitrose at Longsdon Memorial Hall.

Sue Baker, Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator at Buxton and Leek College, said: "We have people of all ages on the course, from 19 up to mid-50s, and they are all very keen to learn and how to impress Waitrose.

"The feedback we have had so far from those students who have travelled to Buxton on work placements in the supermarket has been excellent so we are very optimistic that the majority will find employment."

Job seeker Lauren Adamson, aged 19, from Cauldon Lowe, has applied for a part-time supermarket assistant post at the new store. She said: "I haven't had a job since leaving school but I have been doing voluntary work at a British Heart Foundation charity shop to give me some experience.

"I am working towards an NVQ in Customer Service with Buxton and Leek College as well as my BTEC in work skills and the training has had a really positive impact on me.

"I was not very confident when I left school as I was very shy. I know the Waitrose interview will be challenging but at least I will be well prepared for it after all my training in college."

Ann Roberts, aged 48, from Smallthorne, has been unemployed since December and has completed the training with Buxton and Leek College, including a work placement at Waitrose in Buxton.

She said: "I'm really glad I took part in the training and found the staff at the Buxton store very friendly.

"They all seemed happy in their work and I think Waitrose will be a good company to work for."

Waitrose Leek Opening Branch Manager, Becky Wollam, said: "We have had a really positive response since we launched our recruitment drive.

"We have worked with the local Jobcentre Plus and Buxton and Leek College, and have been very impressed by the calibre of applications we have received."

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