Candidates can apply by walking into their nearest Co-op shop and starting work in a matter of days

The Co-op is seeking to fast-track the recruitment of 5,000 new store staff in an effort to help the beleaguered hospitality industry hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Recruitment procedures have been simplified for the temporary roles, with candidates able to apply for positions by walking into their nearest Co-op shop and starting work in a matter of days.

The society said the move was a bid to provide temporary employment for hospitality workers who have lost their jobs and to increase support for local communities amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

It follows the announcement by Morrisons earlier this week that it would employ an extra 3,500 staff as it promised to expand its online delivery service.

Permanent and temporary roles are available across the country at the Co-op’s 2,600-strong store estate.

The boost in colleague numbers would help stores to replenish stock more efficiently, fulfil online orders and provide ongoing assistance to more vulnerable customers, the group added.

Central England Co-op employs temporary staff to cope with panic buying

“The Co-op has a critical role to play in supporting our members, customers and colleagues, as well as the local communities that our stores sit at the heart of,” said Co-op food CEO Jo Whitfield.

“Whilst our store and depot colleagues are working around the clock to ensure people have the essentials they need, we are all too aware that many people working in bars, pubs and restaurants are currently out of work.

“It makes perfect sense for us to try and temporarily absorb part of this highly skilled and talented workforce who are so adept at delivering great customer service, as we work together to feed the nation.

“We’re talking to a large number of organisations whose workforces have been affected by this situation. To anyone in this position who is looking for a job in one of our stores, our message is simple: please get in touch now. We’ve made the application process quicker than ever and hope to have new colleagues on the ground within a day or two. What we need now is genuine, tangible cooperation as we look to support the wider economy and help the nation overcome this challenging period.”

Co-op colleagues in business support roles who are not currently working in stores or distribution centres are also being encouraged to ‘lend a hand’ in their local Co-op to help replenish shelves.

Anyone interested in the new temporary roles should speak to a store manager at their local Co-op. Permanent roles can be applied for at