More than 100 long-term unemployed have swapped the dole queue for dealing with queues of shoppers, thanks to a regeneration project in Sheffield with Tesco.

The supermarket giant joined forces with Jobcentre Plus and Sheffield College to train 117 local residents, all of whom had been out of work for at least six months.

The recruits, aged from 16 to 62, are now among the 350 new recruits working at the retailer’s new Savile Street site, in a previously rundown part of the South Yorkshire city. 

“We have created 350 jobs here, 250 of which went to people from the local area including long-term unemployed, who were helped into work through a specialised training scheme,” said store manager Mark Collings at this week’s opening of the £50m, 88,000 sq ft store.

“We now want to build on this with further help in the surrounding community,” he added. “We are developing a scheme in which we will work closely with Jobcentre Plus and other agencies in the area to up-skill jobseekers, helping them to find work - even where jobs are not with Tesco.”

Sheffield MP David Blunkett, who presented the new employees with their certificates, added: “This is one of those moments in time when the creation of new job opportunities and the provision of training is not only welcome, but vital for the wellbeing of the whole of this part of Sheffield as well as the individuals able to earn a living and sustain their families.”