Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is to create 500 jobs in its stores and cafes in the next year and will create a new food college to train new recruits in Oldbury.

The retailer said the new positions would also be sparked by its expansion plans in the coming 12 months.

Gwyn Burr, Sainsbury’s customer service director, said: “I am thrilled to be able to announce the creation of these new jobs on our counters and cafes, particularly in the current economic climate.”

Sainsbury’s coupled the jobs announcement with the news of six new food colleges offering training to employees working with meat, fish, hot food and in cafes.

The company said it expected 8,500 staff will take up courses every year in areas including product knowledge, knife skills and customer service.

The six colleges are located in Murrayfield, Bradford, Oldbury, London Colney, Calcot (Reading) and Hempstead Valley in Kent.