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Unemployed Brummies offered leg-up to join Grand Central jobseekers’ talent pool

Unemployed Brummies offered leg-up to join Grand Central jobseekers’ talent pool

🕔30.Apr 2015

An attempt to make sure hundreds of new retail jobs go to unemployed people in Birmingham rather than outsiders is about to have a baptism of fire with the start of a recruitment exercise for a John Lewis store.

The city council has been working for two years with partners at the Grand Central shopping centre above New Street Station to give long term workless applicants the best possible chance of securing employment at one of the biggest department stores outside of London.

Set to open in September, the £35 million John Lewis store is the anchor tenant at Grand Central and applications for more than 500 positions at the shop have been invited.

John Lewis says it is committed to ensuring that the roles created by the shop are accessible to local people and has been working alongside the Birmingham Growth Alliance Partnership to develop a pre-employment training package targeted at engaging applicants from across the community.

Members of the partnership include John Lewis, Birmingham City Council, Network Rail, Retail Birmingham, Department for Work and Pensions, the Skills Funding Agency and the National Apprenticeship Service.

The partnership says it is committed to “maximise access for Birmingham residents, particularly those from priority groups to all jobs, skills and training opportunities that flow from the development”.

But the process which applicants for more than 1,000 Grand Central jobs face is bureaucratic.

First, jobseekers must register with the National Careers Service. After that they will receive a “skills health check”, careers advice and other support including referral to additional training to help move into employment.

A chosen few will be selected for the Work Grand Central Excellence training programme and become part of a Grand Central “talent pool” where employers will select people for interviews.

Entry into the pool will also provide opportunities with other major retail and hospitality employers.

Lisa Williams, head of branch at John Lewis Birmingham, said:

We are looking for hardworking, enthusiastic people who are eager to work within a team and importantly, have a passion for retail.

The business gives partners fantastic opportunities to progress and move up the career ladder. I joined the Partnership 26 years ago as a part time selling assistant when I was still at school and have been supported every step of the way to management level.

Solihull Council is also working with a major new employer to find jobs for local people.

When Resorts World Birmingham opens later this year at the NEC complex it will create 1,100 jobs including housekeeping roles, chefs, reception, bartenders and waiting staff as well as a number of administrative and accounts roles.

A recruitment event is taking place on May 6 at the Genting Arena to offer potential employees an opportunity to discover the wide range of jobs on offer at the destination.

One of the largest tenants at Resort World Birmingham will be the new IMAX cinema operated by Cineworld which will also be present at the event to promote their vacancies. A major part of the offer at Resorts World Birmingham will be the West Midlands first large scale outlet shopping and many of the retailers including Gap Outlet and the Nike Factory Store will be present at the event to talk to potential employees.

Resorts World Birmingham will be providing an hourly complimentary bus service throughout the day departing from outside Moor Street station direct to the NEC and from Solihull station via Chelmsley Wood Interchange to the venue returning on an hourly basis. Car parking will also be available on the day.

Resorts World Birmingham director of human resources Julie Davies said:

This is a significant boost to the jobs market in the area. When we are fully operational and all of the tenants have completed their recruitment process 1,100 full time equivalent jobs will have been created across retail, hospitality, operations, security, maintenance and gaming.

The recruitment event on May 6 is an important first stage in our search to find the people who will help make Resorts World Birmingham such a great place to visit. There will be a wide range of jobs for prospective employees to come and discuss with us and I would urge anyone who would like to work at one of the UK’s most exciting venues joins us to hear about the fantastic opportunities we are creating.

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