In a bid to reduce the levels of unemployment in Liverpool, the city council has given the go ahead for a large supermarket to be built on the condition that the company agrees to allocate half of its staffing hours to the long-term unemployed living in the local area.
“It’s handy,” says Richard Hatley, the store’s manager of Tesco. “More than 80% of our people came from local jobcentres.”
With the level of dole claimants in Liverpool already twice the national average, such opportunities are precious, despite Conservative minister Michael Heseltine being parachuted in to save the city, it has continued to suffer high unemployment and depopulation.
“Some of the people we’ve taken on may not have GCSE level maths and English, the core basic, basic, skills,” says Hatley. “Some of them may not have worked for 20, 25 years plus; others have previously tried to apply for 200 jobs.”
“From the drive and the passion they have, you know they really, really want it,” he says. “It’s hard to describe the effort and level of commitment they put into their jobs. It is their store and their proud of it.”