Supermarket giant Tesco is planning to refresh stores and open new ones across the UK over the next two years and in the process create 20,000 new jobs.

The supermarket, which is also the country’s largest retailer, has also said that it expects its focus to be on giving young jobless people the opportunities to work in their stores. There is also talk of using some of these positions to boost its apprenticeship programme up to 10,000.

Tesco Chief Executive, Richard Brasher, told Sky News that these jobs are real net new jobs and that they will be a mixture of full and part time posts that meet workers needs.

This announcement has been welcomed by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who is desperate to be seen to be tackling youth unemployment where over a million 16-24 year olds are out of work. “This is a massive confidence boost for the UK economy. Tesco is one of the world’s leading companies and the biggest private sector employer in this country. Their commitment to creating jobs and opportunities for young people at what is a difficult time for the economy is fantastic news for the UK as a whole and for those people they will help into work.” He said.

The move is being seen as a fight-back by the company after it issued its first profit warning for 20 years just a few weeks ago, which wiped some £5 billion off of its share value.

It also comes soon after Tesco dropped its adverts for work placement schemes offering jobs where the pay is benefits and expenses, but that come with a threat of benefits withdrawal from those that pulled out of any job they were given on this basis.

Tesco

Tesco

Richard Brasher, Tesco chief executive, said: “In unprecedented economic conditions like these, major businesses have a big responsibility to step forward, invest and create jobs. Today’s announcement is a huge shot in the arm for the UK economy. At the core of this investment is our determination to deliver the best shopping experience for our customers, bar none. We will invest in more staff on the sales floor at busy times, greater expertise and help in the crucial areas of fresh food, and enhanced quality and service across our stores at all times. To deliver this we’re going to strengthen our customer service team: 20,000 more staff across our stores over the next two years.

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