Sainsbury’s now recruit beyond Kelso town

WHEN Sainsbury’s were advertising recently for staff at their new Kelso store only applicants living within five miles of the store were considered for the jobs, excluding anyone living in Berwickshire.

However, following intervention from Borders MP Michael Moore the supermarket has changed the restriction and now anyone living within a 30 mile radius can apply for the 16 jobs currently available.

Just before completion of the Kelso store last month, Sainsbury’s introduced a new application system across the UK which restricted recruitment for their new stores to applicants who lived nearby - demonstrating that local people were benefiting from the new job opportunities.

They recruit on line and in conjunction with the local job centre but in August set up recruitment days in Kelso after being told that as well as there being no job centre in the town not everyone in Kelso would have access to a computer. More than 300 people tried to apply on the first day alone for jobs but queues at the library to apply online put many people off.

However, they now accept that such a narrow radius for staff recruitment was not appropriate in this area.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We try to ensure that our stores reflect the communities that they serve so whenever possible we try to give jobs to people who live locally. Our stores do have some guidelines to help them recruit within a certain radius of where they are located but these are very flexible and vary from store to store depending on the role concerned, the needs of the store and the geography of the local area.”

Mr Moore has welcomed the swift action taken by Sainsbury’s to correct things and said: “When I was contacted about this issue, I couldn’t believe that applications for Sainsbury’s new Kelso store were being restricted to people who live within just five miles of the shop.

“I got in touch with Sainsbury’s and there was a lot of confusion as to why the online application process was so restrictive. Sainsbury’s management then discovered there had been an error and the radius has since been changed to 30 miles.

“I am pleased that Sainsbury’s have now corrected this error so that the application process is now open to many more people in the surrounding area.

“I want to encourage anyone who tried to apply previously, but was rejected because they lived too far from the store, to try again if they live within a 30 mile radius.”