AROUND a tenth of the workforce at Amazon’s distribution centre in Over Hulton were long-term unemployed residents of the borough before the summer.

More than 700 long-term unemployed people applied to work for the online retail giant during the summer, supported by the Team Bolton Partnership.

This partnership is made up of a group of organisations including Bolton College and the Jobcentre who work to improve access to improved training, skills and employment opportunities.

Out of the 285 individuals who went forward for an interview with the company, a total of 133 were offered a job.

This means roughly 10 per cent of Amazon’s workforce in Bolton were previously long-term unemployed residents, according to a council report.

Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, welcomed the news and thanked Amazon for their commitment to helping people back into work.

He said: “This is excellent news for both the applicants and the Bolton economy. As a council we have worked with our partners at Bolton College, the Jobcentre and others to deliver these results.

“Credit must also go to Amazon who have engaged with the community and committed to helping local jobseekers back into the workforce. New units are being added to Logistics North as we speak, and I expect to see similar success stories as more companies choose to invest in Bolton.”

The “fulfilment” centre at Logistics North, which is one of 16 across the UK, opened for business in August. The recruitment drive which started last summer saw 1,200 jobs created.

This has contributed to the month-on-month decline in the number of jobseekers claiming benefits which was cut by 2.3 per cent thanks to the single recruitment round.

In October, the company announced that it would raise the bottom rate of pay for staff to £9.50 per hour.

The quarterly performance report by the Directorate of Place at Bolton Council showed that the borough’s employment rate has been fairly flat for the last few years.

In June, 70 per cent of Bolton residents were in employment, up marginally from March but down by almost one percentage point the pervious year.

This is 2.8 percentage points lower than the Greater Manchester employment rate and almost five per cent lower than the UK. The council aims to reach 71 per cent by 2020 and match the national average by 2030.

By the end of June, 2,181 Bolton residents were on the council’s Working Well programmes. A total of 696 people have been supported into employment under these programmes, the highest number outside of Manchester starting work.