Renfrewshire’s jobs and employability programme is already ranked among the biggest and best in Scotland…now it’s helped source staff for a supermarket with a difference.
Pioneering food redistribution supermarket Company Shop recently opened its doors on its first Scottish store in Renfrew, offering emergency services and NHS staff memberships to buy surplus food at discount rates.
And to recruit its workforce, the innovative supermarket joined forces with the Council’s employability team Invest in Renfrewshire.
The Invest team promoted the vacancies, hosted information sessions and offered training and CV building support in advance of the interviews, which helped 60 people to gain Company Shop jobs.
This includes Jamie Kilpatrick, who works on reception managing new memberships and serving on the shop tills. The 34-year-old previously worked at a creamery and then a jam producer in Arran, but struggled after swapping island life for Paisley seven years ago.
“Things weren’t going that well for a good few years and it got really bad in 2017,” explained Jamie. “My mental health deteriorated, I had depression and was in a dark place, alone quite a lot. The longer I didn’t have a job, it became such a big deal to me and the prospect of it seemed so far away.
“Thankfully I managed, with the help of my family and others, to get out of the hole I was in and along that process I started with Invest in Renfrewshire about a year and a half ago. The team there really helped to bring me back and make me realise it can be tough to get a job, but I can do it. I did a course there called Steps, which honestly changed my life. I know that sounds drastic, but it did and I lost a whole lot of weight, my confidence and motivation went way up.
“The Invest team are great and the absolute best thing about them is they let you do it in your own time, you’re not rushed into employment and a job which you might not be ready for. My advisor recommended the job at Company Shop and helped me to prepare for the interview. It is going well and working on reception is ideal for me as I enjoy interacting with the public. For my mum, the job is a bonus as long as I’m happy and healthy.”
Also happily employed is Renfrew resident Janette O’Brien, who works the 6am shift in the cash office and helps serving customers and stocking produce too.
The 61-year-old had always been in employment, but with her previous company going into liquidation, lacked confidence in starting a new role in retail.
She said: “At my age, as a senior, it can be quite hard for somebody to take you on and that was in my head. All the jobs I’ve had have been long-term, but I hadn’t faced a formal interview before so was nervous about that.
“I saw the Company Shop job on Facebook and Invest then invited me to enrol with them. They helped me to bring my CV up-to-date and then arranged a mock interview, which I scored quite highly in and that gave me confidence to come for the real interview.
“I’ve always worked, it’s great to be back in work and especially so close to my house. My daughter and two grandkids are proud of me and I’m enjoying the variety of the job, I’ve come on leaps and bounds and I’m just about used to getting up at five in the morning!”
Renfrew Company Shop Store Manager Paul Gallagher said: “I’m fortunate to have worked for two multi-national companies, but I have never been prouder of any team than here, to see their journey through the interview process to the induction, to store opening and now serving the customers I’m so proud of them every day.
“We wanted to help people from the Renfrewshire area back into employment, build their confidence and of course earn a wage. Right from the word go, the support from the employability team was amazing. I spent weeks with them, doing interviews and the hospitality, the camaraderie, they were a joy to work with. The work they did to prepare candidates really helped us and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to them as they were phenomenal.”
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s great to hear how well Jamie, Janette and all the other employees are getting on in their new roles and I wish them and Company Shop well as they continue to serve the local community.
“We have made a long-term commitment to help bring 3000 working-age people back into the local workforce as we ensure that as our economy continues to grow, everyone has the chance to benefit.”