OPPORTUNITIES for the long-term unemployed are few and far between - but more than 100 of Sheffield’s jobless are about to start work with one of Britain’s biggest retailers.
Some 117 of the 300 jobs being created at Tesco’s new store between Spital Hill and Savile Street have been given to people who took part in a training course for unemployed people organised by the company and Sheffield City College.
Graduates from the eight-week training course have been guaranteed jobs at the store, which opens on October 31.
Granddad Stuart Dalby, aged 59, of Brightside, who worked in engineering and security, is among three former jobless people who will run the photographic counter.
He said: “I had four interviews and at the last one there were lots of young people and I thought Tesco would go for them rather than someone my age.
“When I was told I’d got the job, I was shocked to be honest and really delighted.
“I would recommend the training course to anyone. It was really good, I met wonderful people and while it was hard work, we had a lot of fun too. It’s really getting people back on track.”
Stuart’s new colleague Patrick Bridge, 44, of Woodseats, had been unemployed for 18 months.
“The scheme has been good fun” said Patrick. “It’s been nice to meet the people you will be working with before you start in store but the best thing is no longer signing on and just having some money.”
Clelia Cordulli, 38, of Walkley, who spent 18 months looking for work before she was accepted on to the scheme, said: “I applied for more than 50 jobs but had too many qualifications and too much work experience for many of them.
“I saw this opportunity advertised in the local paper, rang up and got on the course. I feel very lucky to have been offered a position at the new store.
“I am really enjoying the experience. I don’t know what I expected but it is much more exciting.”
Staff were presented with certificates by Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett in a ceremony at Verdon Street Recreation Centre, Burngreave.
Mr Blunkett said: “This is one of those moments in time when the creation of new job opportunities and the provision of training is not only welcome, but vital, for the health and wellbeing of the whole of this part of Sheffield as well as the individuals able to earn a living and sustain their families.”
Deborah Hayeems, from Tesco, said: “Everyone on the scheme is looking forward to starting at the store and the team spirit they have built up is fantastic. We have some very promising people with a fantastic work ethic and I am sure many of them could go on to achieve great success within the company.”