Published: 11:45, 17 November 2011
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
The dire state of the jobs market, especially for young people, has been underlined by the 2,000 applications received by John Lewis Bluewater for just 240 Christmas roles.
Official figures released yesterday showed unemployment among 16-24 year olds had smashed through the one million barrier.
Temporary roles are eagerly sought by unemployed people of all ages and also by young people in full-time education looking for holiday jobs.
Applicants who beat the odds – they had a one in eight chance – to land a coveted role at John Lewis in the retailer's busiest trading period of the year, will be given retail skills training.
The Christmas sales assistants will be assigned to various departments, including the Christmas shop, furnishing accessories, homeware, fashion and electrical technology.
The temp Partners, as employees at John Lewis Partnership are known, will support full-time staff throughout the day and during extended opening hours.
Personnel manager Imogen Jones said: "We were looking for people who really understand what good customer service looks like but more importantly what this means to a John Lewis customer.
"During this busy period, customers are looking to find that perfect gift for their loved ones.
"The recruitment of these new temporary Partners and their enthusiasm to ensure our customers have a great experience when shopping with us will allow John Lewis Bluewater to be more helpful than ever."
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