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Co-op creates modern slavery job lifeline programme

The Co-op is creating a national scheme that allows employers to help survivors of modern slavery by offering them permanent employment within its business.

The project is based on the Co-op’s Bright Future programme, which provides survivors with a four-week paid work placement leading to a non-competitive interview. If they are successful and if there is a position available the candidate will be offered a job within the Co-op’s food business.

Representatives from a wide section of businesses including BP, Tesco and the Body Shop came together at a parliamentary event organised by the Co-op, to learn how they could join the Bright Future programme and introduce their own job creation opportunities.

The event was introduced by MP Frank Field, who said: “Modern slavery is the biggest injustice in the world today. Now that the Modern Slavery Act is on the statute book, the Co-op has set the pace on helping victims of slavery to begin to rebuild their lives through work.

“These efforts by the Co-op must not be underestimated and hopefully will quickly become industry policy.”

Pippa Wicks, Co-op deputy CEO, said: “This heinous crime will only be stopped by government, businesses and society working together. By creating employment opportunities we can ensure victims stay out of the evil clutches of their captors.

“Working with City Hearts we are creating a matching scheme that will put charities, in any part of the UK, in touch with employers that are willing to support victims of modern slavery find the dignity that paid, freely chosen employment provides.”

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