Justin King told the Sunemployment Roadshow today that Sainsbury's is committed to supporting the economy's growth and boosting skills by employing more people than ever before.
Mr King said that working for Sainsbury's can offer flexibility, from working mums to part-time students, but can also be the route to establishing a varied career in a fast-paced, customer-facing environment.
Sainsbury's Chief Executive Justin King said: "As one of Britain's biggest employers the range of jobs, training and skills we offer is growing with our business. We're creating thousands of opportunities each year across a variety of careers, from leaders of the future who want to run their own business area, to parents and students looking to work around other commitments."
A typical Sainsbury's supermarket has around 250 jobs available across 35 different positions, ranging from deputy managers to team leaders, category assistants, online managers and customer service advisors. People can also apply to be a counter specialist, and attend a City and Guilds accredited course at one of Sainsbury's seven food colleges. There are also opportunities available in the logistics operation, from online delivery drivers to operations managers, shift and team managers.
To help increase awareness of the full range of careers on offer for young people, Sainsbury's has recently launched a new campaign called 'Youth Can'. This initiative is headed up by hundreds of Sainsbury's colleagues under the age of 25 who are taking their experiences to young people about the work they do and the opportunities on offer.
Chris Bell, 24, from Newcastleis a team leader at the Sainsbury's Northumberland Parkstore and a Youth Can ambassador, giving advice to school leavers about careers in retail. Chris joined Sainsbury's in 2008, working part-time while he was a student. After graduating Chris kept working at Sainsbury's and he is now only a couple of months away from completing the retailer's trainee manager programme.
Chris said: "I'd never considered a career in retail while I was studying. My perception of the job was that it was all about stacking shelves and being on a checkout but there is a so much more to it than that. My manager saw that I was motivated and keen to learn so helped me apply for the trainee manager scheme. I now look after a team of over 25 people and my ambition is to become a store manager before I'm 27.
"I hope to change the negative perception about careers in retail. A big part of my job is motivating my team and seeing the results in a store. Nothing gives me a buzz like seeing the store run like clockwork and speaking to happy customers."
Dan Swift, aged 22, from the Gallowgate store in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, got his job with Sainsbury's at the Sunemployment event last year. In a year Dan has risen through the ranks at Sainsbury's and is now a team leader, managing 20 colleagues.
Dan said: "I've been looking forward to the Sunemployment Roadshow. It's great to share my experiences over the last year, give some tips about the benefits of working for a top class company like Sainsbury's and hopefully this will help inspire others that, despite the doom and gloom, there are still great jobs out there. I've worked hard and been given lots of new responsibilities and opportunities for career progression, so my advice to people is don't dismiss what a supermarket can offer, I really enjoy what I do and ensure I remain focussed on the most important people in retail - the customers!"
Rob Taylor, aged 22, from the Ings Roadstore inWakefield is another Sainsbury's success story attending the event. Rob left school in 2007 with three A-levels, but didn't know what to do as a career. He started at Sainsbury's in 2008 on the checkouts and quickly became a team leader on the customer service desk. He then successfully completed the Sainsbury's trainee manager scheme in 2010, after which he managed a fresh fruit and vegetable section. He now oversees a team of 24 across counters.
Rob said: "When I left school I didn't know what to do, but Sainsbury's gave me the opportunity to develop and use my people skills. It so rewarding to motivate a team and serve customers as best I can."
Notes to editors