Grand Central Birmingham launches Recruitment Process

Posted on 21 February, 2015 by Kirsten Kennedy

The eagerly anticipated opening of Grand Central Birmingham is fast approaching, with the retail and leisure complex on schedule to open in September as part of the £600 million New Street Gateway development.

Business - young man sitting in job Interview

Now that the final stage of construction has officially begun, centre owners and confirmed tenants are embarking upon a recruitment programme as a means of ensuring the grand opening goes off without a hitch.

Grand Central Birmingham is forecast to create upwards of 1,000 new jobs in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, while the construction phase has created numerous positions and apprenticeships to date.

This latest recruitment drive has earned the West Midlands the title of the UK’s employment hotspot, with projects such as the HS2 rail link and the redevelopment of Paradise Circus set to further boost jobs growth in the region.

The body responsible for ensuring positions at Grand Central are filled is the Birmingham Growth Alliance Partnership (BGAP), which counts Birmingham City Council, John Lewis, the National Apprenticeship Service and Network Rail as partners. It will provide training and skills tuition for candidates applying for roles within the complex as well as making sure job growth is capitalised upon both at Grand Central and in the wider city centre.

Co-chair of the BGAP and assistant director for employment at Birmingham City Council, Shilpi Akbar, says; “With over 1,000 jobs being created at Grand Central, this partnership is committed to reflect Birmingham’s diverse community and showcase the skills of Birmingham’s job seekers.

“Our work to date has been to develop and coordinate high quality training across the city in the customer service, retail and hospitality sectors to ensure unemployed people have access to the range of job opportunities which will arise from Grand Central.”

While retail and leisure growth has played a massive part in lowering the unemployment level in Birmingham, investment by manufacturing firms such as Jaguar Land Rover and JCB have assisted in this target in the wider region. As a result, the West Midlands saw a fall of 32,000 in unemployment during the fourth quarter of 2014 – the largest drop recorded throughout all regions of the UK.

Around half of the new positions at Grand Central will be created in the complex’s mammoth anchor unit John Lewis which, at 250,000 sq ft, will be the retailer’s largest store outside of London. While the retailer has already begun the interview process for a number of specialist roles, it has made the decision to leave the majority of recruitment until May as it expects a very high level of demand for positons.

Head of branch at John Lewis Birmingham, Lisa Williams, says; “We have been working alongside the BGAP for almost two years to develop a pre-employment training package dedicated to ensuring the jobs created by our new shop are accessible to the local community.

“Our aim as an employer is to reflect the community in which we trade and we’re really excited to welcome new partners to the John Lewis Birmingham team in the coming months.”

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