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Jobs secured for local people at Cheshire Oaks flagship Marks and Spencer store

7 August 2012

A joint initiative has resulted in 46 local people securing jobs at the new Marks and Spencer store on Cheshire Oaks. A further two people are on the waiting list for jobs.

Cheshire West and Chester Council, West Cheshire College, Jobcentre Plus and Marks and Spencer were involved in the initiative.

Councillor Herbert Manley, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Executive Member for Prosperity, said: “This is a fantastic outcome for local people.

“We have worked closely with Marks and Spencer since the inception of this Council to support the application and the jobs it would bring, particularly to local unemployed people.

“Marks and Spencer has been wholly committed to working in partnership to achieve this outcome.”

Local Councillor Justin Madders said: “As leader of the former Borough Council who secured agreement of Marks and Spencer to come to Ellesmere Port initially, I am delighted that years of hard work finally came to fruition.

“It was always one of our chief concerns to ensure that this flagship store would bring real economic benefits to the town and we were very clear from the start that this would mean as many jobs as possible going to local people.”

Nine pre-employment courses, delivered by West Cheshire College, were provided for potential employees.

Over a two week period the candidates learnt about the key aspects of working in the retail sector, had the opportunity to gain a Level 1 qualification in Retail Knowledge and were provided with interview preparation skills before attending an interview with the store.

Ellesmere Port resident Victoria Millington, who had been unemployed for four years, has now started work at the new Marks and Spencer flagship store in Cheshire Oaks which opens later this month.

She was supported on the Work Programme by Cheshire West and Chester Council, and is one of 46 local people who have secured jobs.

Victoria said: “I am delighted to have been given this opportunity. I attended a course at the HHEET Centre in Ellesmere Port in February to help prepare me for the Marks and Spencer Pre Employment Course in April.  Both courses were excellent.

“I have grown in confidence and feel fully equipped to undertake my new role in the Catering Department within the ground floor cafe at the new store. I have just started my new job and I’m really enjoying it.”

Louise Cassidy, HR Business Partner at Marks and Spencer, said: “We were committed to providing jobs for local people and we have been delighted with the standard of the candidates supplied through the Pre-Employment initiative

“The course helped to equip potential recruits with an understanding of working in a retail environment and to develop the skills and attitude that we seek in our employees.

“Many of our new colleagues have joined us in the past few weeks as we prepare for the opening of the store later this month.”

Jane Stanley-McCrave, Employment Development Manager for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This partnership initiative has been hugely successful.

“Agencies including Job Centre Plus, local Work Programme and Work Choice Providers and West Cheshire College worked together to raise the profile of the course and ensure that local unemployed residents were able to access the opportunities available.

“The outcome has exceeded our expectations and it is a model we will continue to use in the future.”

The new store on Longlooms Road will be the UK’s second largest Marks and Spencer and will open on August 29.

For further information contact Caroline Thomas from the Council’s Employment Learning and Skills Service on 0151 337 6302.