A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s has confirmed that the chain is about to open a new supermarket in Southend On Sea that is staffed entirely by volunteers – it is hoped that the groundbreaking new store will create more than 150 unpaid voluntary positions. According to the retail giant’s area manager for South Essex, this will be a fantastic opportunity for highly-skilled individuals to showcase their talents to in a fast-paced and highly profitable retail environment.

Their spokesperson said: ‘Checkout staff, shelf stackers, cleaners and master butchers will be able to gain vital exposure from this revolutionary new store, and they are all free to look for actual employment outside of their mandatory 40-hour volunteering week. It’s a tough world out there at the moment, and we are delighted to be offering more than 150 people the chance to gain vital life skills while keeping their existing talents ticking over. As an added bonus, the low staffing costs in this branch will keep prices low for all customers – it really is win-win for everyone involved.’

He added: ‘Unfortunately there are some aspects that will require a small outlay. We have included plans for a staff cafeteria and to get it decorated we will need to employ an artist on a month-long contract that is paid at a fair market rate. 

It seems that before the supermarket has even opened, other Southend businesses are looking for follow their example of Premium Volunteering. The local NHS trust has already placed a local media advert for Voluntary Brain Surgeons and Cardiothoracic Consultants, and London Southend Airport has started a programme for anyone who wants to fly an Airbus A320 but doesn’t want to go through the ‘expense and hassle’ of training to become a qualified pilot.