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Firm boasts recipe for recruitment success

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 05, 2012

READY FOR OPENING DAY: Emerson Griffiths, Stacey Turton, HR manager Suzie Deverill and Amanda Powis

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EXCITED new recruits at Cheltenham's new Whole Foods Market cannot wait to get started at the store.

Greengrocers, butchers, bakers, chefs, cheesemongers and other food and drink specialists are finishing off their training before the supermarket, in Gallagher Retail Park, opens on Wednesday.

It follows a recruitment drive in the Gloucestershire Echo to find people with the aptitude to take on new skills.

Many of the successful applicants went through Job Centre Plus, with courses at Gloucestershire College, in a pioneering three-pronged partnership with the natural food firm. There are more than 150 new staff from Cheltenham – 33 of them were previously unemployed.

Among them is Stacey Turton, from Leckhampton, who had been applying for jobs since last June when the chance to go on a two week course at Gloucestershire College came up.

She now has now landed a job in the store's bakery department making anything from bread and pizza to biscuits, cakes and other treats.

"It has been a brilliant experience so far," said the 26-year-old. "It is tough out there for young people getting a job at the moment and I had been applying for things without having much luck.

"But then I got on the two- week course at Gloucestershire College and did certificates in food and hygiene, customer service, and basic knife skills.

"It has opened all sorts of doors for me.

"Now I've got the job I feel like I'm learning all the time.

"I'm working in the bakery section at the moment, but there will be chances to move around and pick up new skills within the business."

The company, which prides itself on only stocking products which are natural, has more than 310 stores – mainly in North America.

Its Cheltenham branch will be only its second UK store outside of London, where it has five outlets.

Final touches are being put on the premises before the grand opening. A giant loaf of bread, cooked in-store, will be broken at 9am on Wednesday.

"It's our way of cutting the ribbon," said Whole Foods Market spokesman Ben Woodgate. "Everyone here is feeling really positive about this project and Cheltenham is a great place for us to be because people here care deeply about local produce and what they eat."

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