The Co-op has announced plans to create 5,000 store-based roles in a bid to provide temporary employment for hospitality workers who have lost their jobs, amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The retailer said 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.
Permanent and temporary roles are available up and down the country across the Co-op’s 2,600-strong store estate. It said the boost in colleague numbers will help stores to replenish stock more efficiently, fulfil online orders and provide ongoing assistance to more vulnerable customers.
Jo Whitfield, CEO, Co-op Food, 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.”
She added: “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.
“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 colleagues 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 the Co-op also announced measures to combat holiday hunger in pupils caused by unplanned school closures. 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.