Sunday, 21 December 2014

Supermarket takes on homeless workers

Supermarket giant Morrisons is to give 1,000 homeless and vulnerable people jobs in its new stores over the next three years.

The food retailer will give new employees three months training in the classroom and on the job, leading to a Qualifications and Credit Framework Level 1.

They will then become fully employed by Morrisons and given the opportunity to work for a QCF Level 2 in retail skills or take up an apprenticeship to learn a craft, such as fishmongering.

Norman Pickavance, group human resources director for Morrisons, said: ‘This initiative will help disadvantaged people to get their lives back on track. We look forward to taking this approach nationally and we would encourage other British businesses to join us on this initiative.’

The scheme is being run in partnership with social enterprise Create, which helps marginalised, vulnerable and homeless people, and the charity the Salvation Army.

The first five people, who were trained at the Morrisons’ pre-employment academy, started their first day at the retailers’ store in Harehills, Leeds yesterday. Ten per cent of new jobs at Morrisons’ new stores will go to homeless and vulnerable people over the next three years.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Outside Housing

    Well done to Morrisons, Create and the Salvation Army. This should start to address one of the many issues homeless people encounter around getting their lives on track, that of their current situation not fitting in with the requirements of the workplace, in this case having an address. This has always been a major barrier and now with a high profile company clearly stating this is not the most important issue, perhaps other companies will folow suit.

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  • Asda have been employing Hopeless people for years

    ...oh I've misread that!

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  • Chris

    A scheme many low-pay employers would be advised to copy, especially as so many of their staff are due to become homeless.

    Do they also allow staff to sleep on the floors? 19th Century mill owners found this cut down on the time taken to commute, and that working hours could be from Breakfast to Supper-time.

    A great innovation, just such a tragedy that such should be needed in the 21st century, or that growing need exists. No doubt the people being given a lift up by this will be thrilled that it will not enable them to access the new 'affordable' rents.

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  • And what is so bad about people finding employment and paying these "affordable" rents, is it preferable they don't work and remain homeless/vulnerable??. Whilst I can see your subtext I think to decry this scheme falls firmly into the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" school of thought.

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  • Fantastic! I know a few people who might need this soon if our government carries on the way it is. I’m glad some ones got sense.

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  • Chris

    Harry - not damned if you do, hence welcomed as a great innovation - I'm merely pointing out that these proactive self improvers are going to suffer one hell of a shock when even if working at Morrisons they will not be able to afford the new affordable rents. They already know that they can not afford the private rents. The minimum wage plus reduced benefit can not fund the rent at 80%MR nor the PSL rent in a considerable number of our residential areas. Neither will it fund the increased transport costs of commuting. What a smack in the teeth for these people made homeless under Blair and Brown and offered false hope now.

    Of course, the government could commit to truly affordable housing, maintaining the benefit support to low paid, and a fair settlement that meets the treasury need by regulating rents and building social housing - that would ensure that these self-motivated homeless and vulnerable people can reap the rewards of the endeavour. Do you disagree Harry?

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  • This initiative though not new is to be welcomed.

    However, for it to work as intended it needs to look at the bigger picture and not just give jobs proactively to homeless people. The affordabe rents isssue is one major point. Another is ongoing support for the support issues homelessness creates and the support issues that may have caused the homelessness in the first place.

    To neglect these other issues runs the risk of homeless people trying their best to work their way back into society and developing self-esteem etc but then failing.

    Apparently, the first jobs have started and Morrisons have vowed to create 1000 of these jobs for homeless people. Lets hope bureaucracy and other red tape doesnt get in the way and this first project, that will make mistakes, is given as much support as possible.

    IF this type of scheme does prove to work after ironing out all of the issues, the mutual benefits of it can be replicated and deserve to be, and it can be adopted by other employers. Some homeless peopls also wont be ready for this change and need further support - lets hope Morrisons and other employers realise and allow for that too.

    In summary, it matters not a jot whether this is innovative or not, its only if it works or can be made to work. I for one would like to know a lot more about the role of Create in this in developing the programme alongside Salvation Army and Morrisons. Has anyone got a link to further information.

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