Hundreds of long-term unemployed in Birmingham are looking forward to brighter futures after securing new jobs with the help of a public and private sector partnership.

A new Tesco in Aston has recruited 330 staff, with 126 securing employment by completing a training programme, linked to the guarantee of a job at Tesco, created by Aston Together Regeneration Partnership.

The 126 recruits attended Villa Park for a celebration of their achievements after completing pre-employment training and graduating with job offers.

The training was by Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) for Aston Together to give unemployed people from Aston the opportunity to secure work at the new store.

Aston Together is a partnership of Aston Pride, Birmingham City Council, Jobcentre Plus, the Learning and Skills Council and Tesco. It has provided a seamless package of benefits and dedicated training to give the recruits the skills and support needed.

Shilpi Akbar, employment and business theme manager for Aston Pride, said: "The success of the partnership we have with Pertemps People Development Group is mainly due to the fact they share our vision for Aston. It is a shared commitment and shared passion to improve the economic status of our residents and businesses.

"Tesco have seen a real difference in quality of people through the partnership's training programme compared to people that approached them directly. We hope Tesco will continue to come to us to fill vacancies."

Tony Fletcher, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, explained: "Aston Together has been a hugely exciting partnership. In the past nine years we have launched 20 successful partnerships including stores in Leeds, Oldham, Beckton and Haydock - based on our unique job guarantee.

"This has since become the model for part of the Local Employment Partnership (LEP) scheme and we are delighted to have been able to offer opportunities in Aston through this government jobs initiative. All in all in Aston this has resulted in a staggering 65 per cent of the jobs in our new store being filled."