Supermarket giant Morrisons has created 137 jobs in Birtley at its new supermarket, which opens in a week.
The chain said it had almost 500 candidates for the positions, with two thirds of the jobs going to local candidates who were previously unemployed.
Ahead of a local recruitment drive, Morrisons worked with the Centre for Coaching Excellence to run an ‘Our Club’ project at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, to prepare candidates for interviews and potentially working life.
The new store opens on Monday, April 27.
Our Club, Morrisons award winning employability scheme, is an employer-led training programme specifically devised to help tackle youth unemployment by using elite sports training techniques to coach young people, build their confidence and train them to be work-ready.
The Morrisons course put 28 young people, all of whom had been unemployed for at least six months, through a six week programme – with all candidates guaranteed an interview for a role at the new Birtley store.
Over 85% of those who completed the course will soon join Morrisons Birtley store manager Ian Brocklehurst when he opens the store at the end of the month.
He said: “Morrisons are determined to put our new Birtley supermarket at the heart of the community. That starts with making sure we have a great group of colleagues from the local area working in the store.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of people who applied to work in the store.
“Thanks to our work with Our Club and Gateshead College I know we have a high quality group who will be a great team that will deliver in Birtley.”
Morrisons also ran a pre-employment training course with Gateshead College, which helped to provide local candidates for the store.