Southern Co-operative teams up with Shaw Trust to help people back to work

After just two months, the project has seen three permanent staff hired at a store on the Isle of Wight

A Southern Co-operative store on the Isle of Wight has partnered with a leading charity to help people back into work.

The West Street store in Ryde has employed three permanent members of staff after just two months of partnership with the Shaw Trust, a national charity formed in 1982 in the village of Shaw, Wiltshire, to help local disabled people find employment. Since then the Shaw Trust has grown in reach and now supports over 50,000 people a year to live independent and inclusive lives.

The Southern store manager said: “We were approached a few months ago by the Shaw Trust to ask if we would be willing to help clients get back into work via a work experience programme. We set the programme in operation and now we have three clients who are part of the store team on permanent contracts.

“The candidates started out in a work experience set up, where I provided them with tasks such as helping with deliveries and cleaning. Once the candidates moved over to permanent contracts they took on other jobs such as working on the tills.

“It’s worked really well and I am more than impressed with our new colleagues’ flexibility and positive attitude to their work; they are very hard-working.”

The Shaw Trust selected candidates from a number of partnerships with other employment organisations such as Job Centre Plus, and held initial conversations with them before Southern Co-op store management interviewed them.

Said Anita Singh, employer relationship manager, Hampshire & Isle of Wight, for the Shaw Trust said: “We are delighted to work with Southern Co-op.

“Working in true partnership with organisations to deliver high quality services is crucial to our mission of helping individuals to lead independent and inclusive lives.

“We work with innovative partners with proven high performance and a strong presence in the communities they work in. We chose Southern Co-op as an ideal partner and we are thrilled to see how successfully they have worked with our candidates. We look forward to continuing to work with them.”