Manchester-based retail giant Co-op Group said on Thursday it plans to create 5,000 store-based jobs “in a bid to provide temporary employment for hospitality workers who have lost their jobs and to increase support for local communities” amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“Recruitment procedures have been simplified so that candidates can apply for positions by walking into their nearest Co-op with a view to starting work in a matter of days,” said Co-op Group.
“Permanent and temporary roles are available up and down the country across the Co-op’s 2,600-strong store estate.
“The boost in colleague numbers will help stores to replenish stock more efficiently, fulfil online orders and provide ongoing assistance to more vulnerable customers.”
Co-op Food CEO Jo Whitfield said: “The Co-op has a critical role to play in supporting our members, customers and colleagues, as well as the local communities that our stores sit at the heart of.
“Whilst our store and depot colleagues are working around the clock to ensure people have the essentials they need, we are all too aware that many people working in bars, pubs and restaurants are currently out of work.
“It makes perfect sense for us to try and temporarily absorb part of this highly skilled and talented workforce who are so adept at delivering great customer service, as we work together to feed the nation.
“We’re talking to a large number of organisations whose workforces have been affected by this situation.
“To anyone in this position who is looking for a job in one of our stores, our message is simple: please get in touch now.
“We’ve made the application process quicker than ever and hope to have new colleagues on the ground within a day or two.
“What we need now is genuine, tangible cooperation as we look to support the wider economy and help the nation overcome this challenging period.”
Co-op Group also said that its staff in “business support roles” who are not currently working in stores or distribution centres are also being “encouraged” to lend a hand in their local Co-op to help replenish shelves.
Earlier this week Co-op Group also announced measures “to combat holiday hunger” in school pupils caused by unplanned school closures.
About 6,500 students across 25 Co-op Academy Schools who currently have free school meals will be given a £20 voucher for every week that schools remain shut.
Those interested in the new temporary roles should speak to a store manager at their local Co-op. Permanent roles can be applied for at jobs.coop.co.uk.