Buyers were driving force for job creation scheme

12 May 2010

12 May 2010 | Lindsay Clark

The procurement team at Sainsbury’s was behind the programme announced last week to create 100 trainee jobs at its suppliers – and there could be more positions to come.

In an interview with SM, category manager for trading Nicki Perrott revealed that while the initial training programme will last one year, the supermarket already planned to continue the project with another group of trainees next year.

Last week the supermarket launched a supplier partnerships project among 60 of its top construction, engineering, facilities management and retail suppliers and will provide training for people in trades that, due to the economic downturn, have suffered a shortage of labour and investment. The year-long programme aims to ensure trainees gain either full-time employment or further education.

Perrott said the initiative originated with the firm’s supplier relationship management programme. “Obviously we look at cost reduction with our suppliers, but we also look at where suppliers can help with the Sainsbury’s values. These include initiatives in the community and schools. We look at what we can give back and what more we can do with the spending with our suppliers.”

The company’s corporate responsibilities include sourcing with integrity and making a positive difference in its community.

Perrott said that despite the recent slump in the construction industry, the new programme would ensure Sainsbury’s has access to abilities in short supply. “In some of the areas there’s a skills shortage, particularly in the emerging technologies, such as our biomass boiler.

“We are making sure that we are creating roles that give us those skills, which is also part of our corporate responsibility agenda.”

She would not give details of how much funding Sainsbury’s was investing. The supermarket was funding the co-ordination, while the suppliers were paying the entry-level salaries, she said.

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