QUEUING UP FOR JOBS

'Morrisons' recruitment day at the Boathouse, Wisbech. Prospective employees with Mark Oakerbee (customer services) and Julia Rowlands (personnel manager).
'Morrisons' recruitment day at the Boathouse, Wisbech. Prospective employees with Mark Oakerbee (customer services) and Julia Rowlands (personnel manager).
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BUTCHERS, bakers and cake makers were among nearly 1,500 people hoping it would be them when supermarket giants Morrisons staged a two-day recruitment drive this week.

People from across Fenland signed up for a chance to attend the open days held on Sunday and Monday at the Boat House in Wisbech, where they were able to apply for a host of ‘colleague’ positions from till operators to more skilled butchery, bakery and fish counter roles.

But there were around 12 hopefuls for every one of the 250 posts available.

Wannabe-employees initially had two days to book a chance to attend the open days through Wisbech Jobcentre, but the 1,420 places were booked up within hours of the lines opening, leaving almost as many people disappointed as were successful.

Peter Weight, from the Jobcentre, said it had been manic as people desperate for employment tried to get a coveted place at the open days.

“We had an absolutely massive response the phone was ringing long after all the appointments had gone - I think we probably had around 3,000 people wanting an appointment. I think the response is down to a combination of factors - the current economic climate with lack of job opportunities and the fact this is a big, well-known company coming into the town. The location could also be a factor as there are few job opportunities on that side of town,” said Mr Weight.

Julia Rowlands, Personnel Manager, for the new store, which is set to open around the end of November, said they were delighted with the response.

She said the days had been structured to enable them to accommodate as many people as possible.

The days were divided into 15 minute sessions of 25 people at time, which included an introductory chat and video, followed by a chance to learn more about the 250 vacancies including pay.

The supermarket will have 25,000 sq ft of sales area, and will also have a petrol station on the site of the former Total garage on the opposite side of Elm Road.

There will be a canteen area capable of seating up to 150 customers, as well as a delicattesen.

Mark Oakerbee, customer services who led the introductory chat, explained the new store will be a flagship for the company as they have never previously opened a new supermarket so close to Christmas.