Industrious young people from the North East region have been working with retail giant intu to learn from the best about working in the Retail Sector.
Since 2005, World Class Retail Gold has placed more than 300 students with 20 different retailers at both intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre, and they learn what work is really like, but do so in an environment that is supportive and professional. The programme enables young people to develop essential employability skills, raise self-confidence and gain a thorough insight into all aspects of working in retail.
The Retail Gold programme, delivered by intu in association with Employers in Education, has enabled Year 12 students on one-year BTEC First Retail, Work skills and Business courses to access real hands-on experience, with retail placements in two of the busiest shopping centres in the UK. The young people have been able to combine their school-based studies with the practical skills developed during their time learning ‘for real’ by participating in extended work placement programmes with successful local retailers.
Students from two Newcastle Schools, Gosforth Academy and Excelsior Academy, alongside students from Blaydon’s St Thomas More Catholic School and Kingsmeadow School in Dunston are attending weekly work placements at Waitrose, John Lewis and Debenhams at intu Eldon Square, as well as House of Fraser, WH Smith and M&S at intu Metrocentre. Students have also been placed within the Customer Services Team at intu Eldon Square.
During the academic year 2014/15, intu has widened the Retail Gold offer to Dilston College in Northumberland and is working with retailers to accommodate the additional needs of a number of their students. Dilston College in Corbridge is an independent specialist college which provides a high standard of education and care for students aged 16 to 25 who have moderate to severe learning disabilities.
As part of their course, students are offered the opportunity to access work experience, supported by one of a team of dedicated job coaches. This offers students an insight into the world of employment which may be one of their long term goals, or may inspire them to think about seeking employment once their college course is complete.
Students from participating schools and colleges celebrated their success at a presentation ceremony held at Tyneside Cinema, attended by The Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Neil Weatherley and Alexander Nicoll, Director of Corporate Responsibility, intu Properties PLC.
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