THE M&S being built in Cheshire Oaks will give 48 unemployed people jobs.
The unemployed residents secured posts at the new store after a joint initiative between West Cheshire College, Cheshire West and Chester Council, JobCentre Plus and Marks & Spencer.
The college ran a six-week Retail Works pre-employment course for potential candidates to learn key aspects of working in retail as well as gaining a Level 1 qualification in retail knowledge before attending an interview with Marks & Spencer.
Pat Koreman, assistant manager retail at West Cheshire College, said: “We’ve run our pre-employment retail course for several years and it’s been a great success for many retailers in the region.
“We’re delighted that, as a result of the course, 48 people have been offered jobs, and we have a further six people on the waiting list for jobs.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Marks & Spencer – they are one of the UK’s biggest brands and the new store will have a huge impact on the town in terms of attracting visitors and creating jobs.”
Ellesmere Port resident Michelle Jones, 30, was one of those who secured a job – as a cafe assistant in the store.
Michelle, who has been unemployed since being made redundant four years ago, said: “I’d been unemployed for a number of years, so I had lost confidence in myself.
“I found out about the training course at the college through the Job Centre. They helped me with my CV and interview skills, which I feel really helped me get the job.
“During the course we did role-plays, which has made me feel fully prepared for what my new role will consist of and the expertise Marks & Spencer is looking for.”
Another person to be offered a job through the initiative is Megan Griffiths, who will be working as a sales assistant in the food hall.
Megan, 20, from Great Sutton, said: “I found out about the Retail Works course through the Next Steps programme at the college. It was a fantastic course as it gave me all the key skills I need to work in retail.
“The advisers helped me with my application and the tips and suggestions they gave me really built my confidence and prepared me for my interview.”
The job opportunities included part-time and full-time roles working as sales assistants in departments across the store.
Louise Cassidy, HR business partner at Marks & Spencer, said: “We were committed to providing jobs for local people and we have been delighted with the standard of the candidates supplied by West Cheshire College.
“The course helped equip them with an understanding of working in a retail department and to develop the skills that we seek.
“We look forward to all of our new employees joining us to open the new store at Cheshire Oaks later this year.”
The store on Longlooms Road will be the UK’s second largest Marks & Spencer and will open in late summer.
For more information about retail courses at West Cheshire College, call the college hotline on 01244 656 555 or visit www.west-cheshire.ac.uk.