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Published Monday, 9th December 2013

Fourteen people from Sunderland who have previously faced barriers to employment have just checked-in to new jobs at Sainsbury’s, thanks to a partnership between the retailer and Remploy.

Remploy provides specialist employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people and has been working with Sainsbury’s team at the new store in Sunderland. Their aim was to help people into new jobs under the retailer’s ‘You Can’ scheme.

‘You Can’ began in 2008 for people who have previously faced significant barriers to finding work, including young people, long-term unemployed or those with learning disabilities. Remploy is one of the partners that the retailer works with as part of this nationwide initiative.

Two members of the new team are Alan Birbeck and Edward Crow. Alan, 57, from Fulwell, has a medical allergy. He had been out of work for several years whilst caring for his wife, who passed away 18 months ago. “Being a carer was a full time job and it was the right thing to do, but it meant I couldn’t earn a wage,” he said. “Over recent months I began to realise that working again would be good for me, but I was really stuck knowing how and where to start. My confidence had taken a big knock, and I really needed help to understand how to get a job.”

Alan’s local Jobcentre Plus referred him to Remploy’s branch in Sunderland where he received specialist support including how to use a computer, write an effective CV to highlight his many skills and experiences, and how to apply for jobs. Remploy suggested he might consider working in retail and, Alan says, it’s the best decision he ever made. “Remploy and Sainsbury's have been really good for me, and I am enjoying being in a busy environment, serving customers and playing a small part in ensuring the supermarket runs smoothly.”

Edward, from Houghton-le-Spring, had been out of work for five years. Formerly a painter and decorator, he resigned from his job because of severe arthritis in his elbow joints. Following a succession of operations and lengthy recuperation, he felt able to return to work. However, at the age of 60, he questioned whether any employer would offer him the opportunity. “Remploy helped me gain experience in retailing, which confirmed my desire to work in this sector. They also explained to me what Sainsbury’s look for when they recruit, which meant I was able to really prepare for the interview. It obviously did the trick – I’m now employed here and enjoying every minute.”

Diane Lawson is HR manager at Sainsbury’s supermarket. “I have worked with Remploy before at other Sainsbury’s stores and I’m pleased to say that, once again, it’s been a successful experience. Remploy selected candidates best suited to the jobs we had available and as a result 14 people who had found it challenging to get employment elsewhere are part of our team. We are delighted to have given them the opportunity.”

ENDS

Picture caption: seven of Sainsbury’s 14 new recruits, left to right, Keith Johnson, Tanya Burrell, Robert Rumney, Andrew McCarthy, David Grainger, Alan Birbeck and Edward Crow

For further information and interview requests, please contact Remploy press office: 0300 456 8121


Notes to Editors:

  • In the last two years Remploy Employment Services has found more than 35,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and mental disabilities and other disadvantages.
  • Remploy is driven by the fundamental belief that every disabled person can, with appropriate support and specialist advice, secure sustainable employment
  • Employment Services has an increasing focus on providing specialist disability employment services to people with mental health conditions or learning disabilities
  • It continues to invest in developing innovative approaches and services for employers which are cost effective and business efficient including consultancy and vocational rehabilitation services
  • Remploy ES partners with more than 2,500 of the country’s biggest employers including BT, ASDA, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s, the NHS and Marks & Spencer
  • It operates a national network of more than 60 town and city centre recruitment branches and offices providing specialist recruitment and development services to job seekers.