Fourteen job seekers in the West Midlands are celebrating being back in work thanks to a successful partnership between Sainsbury’s new flagship store in Longbridge and Remploy, which provides specialist employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people.
For one of the group, being back in work marks a significant turning point in his life. Wayne Parker, 42, from Solihull, had been unemployed for 18 months, after leaving his last job to care for his partner who, sadly, died after a long illness. Wayne, who had previously worked in marketing and promotions in the music industry and had also been a tour manager, was referred to Remploy’s branch in Yardley for specialist support when he felt ready to move back to work.
“I applied for dozens of jobs and had four interviews but just couldn’t get a job offer,” said Wayne, who received one-to-one support from his employment advisor at Remploy, including advice on creating a new CV.
“Remploy were brilliant,” he added. “They helped me find a temporary job last Christmas and when Sainsbury’s started recruiting for their new Longbridge store earlier this year, my employment advisor secured an interview for me and made sure I understood just what Sainsbury’s looks for in its employees.”
The support paid off for Wayne, who was appointed a night shift team leader and has recently moved into day time work in the busy general merchandising department. “Sainsbury’s is fantastic. I have never worked for anemployer that places such a strong emphasis on training. It is so important to Sainsbury’s and it’s very important to me because it helps me do my job better,” he said.
Thirty-two-year-old Katy Poacher from Yardley is another former Remploy candidate whose life has been transformed since she secured a job as a clothing sales assistant at the new Sainsbury’s store, which has created almost 250 new jobs since it opened in August.
Katy, who has Down’s syndrome, was referred to Remploy when she left her last job as a care home assistant. Like Wayne, she received tailored support with her job searching from specialist advisors at Remploy’s Yardleybranch.
“Everyone at the branch was so helpful,” she said. “They gave me the confidence to go for this job, which I really love. I wasn’t very happy at my last job, but I’m a different person now. I’m much stronger and much happier.”
Su Tranter, Sainsbury’s HR manager at the store believes the relationship with Remploy has helped the retailer create a diverse workforce that reflects the community it serves. “I’m passionate about working with Remploy,” she said. “I know they will always provide motivated candidates to fill our vacancies.
“As a result of the partnership, 14 people who were finding it difficult to get back into work, either because of a disability or health condition or because they had been long-term unemployed, now have real jobs. They are delighted and so am I.”