Job Seekers Given The Edge

Wed, 2001-02-07 00:00

A group of 40 unemployed people are taking part in a new pre-employment programme that is giving them new skills in retailing.

East Durham College, in Peterlee, is working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and a number of local employers to help equip local job seekers with the skills they need to prepare them for gaining employment in the retail sector.

The College’s Pre-employment Programme has recently been working with two groups of 20 local people and yesterday the participants got to hear inspiring talks from high flying store managers.

First they heard from Darren Fucile, Manager of the Nike Clearance Store at Dalton Park, and then Marks & Spencer Outlet Manager Gillian McAuley who is also based at the outlet shopping centre.

“People who want to work in retail must bring colour to the shop floor, they must show personality, commitment and provide outstanding service to the customer,” explained Gillian.

She went on to say: “These pre-employment training programmes are brilliant because they give people the skills and confidence needed to work in retail. Anyone who has done one of these courses certainly has a better chance of gaining employment over someone who hasn’t.”

The 4-week courses are run from the College’s specialist Retail & Customer Services Training Unit at Dalton Park and run every 4 weeks.

Business Development Manager at the College, Barbara Archer, added: “Many employers are identifying pre-employment training as a key method in their recruitment process. We are certainly giving job seekers who take part in these courses the edge.”

One such job seeker, Thomas Freeman, 47 from Seaham, who was made redundant four months ago after working at Walkers for 19 year, commented: “I was gutted when I found out I was being made redundant. Before speaking to Jobcentre Plus and this training started I had no idea, I wouldn’t have even know where to apply for a job!

“It’s definitely helping me understand what skills are required for which jobs. I’m really enjoying socialising and meeting new people too.”

The most recent example of one of the College’s Pre-employment Programme’s successes was with Tesco. The supermarket giant recently opened a new store in Seaham and six of its new staff got their jobs through the College’s Programme and a further three were also taken on for work placements.

If you’d like more details on the help on offer please call Barbara Archer on 0191 518 5515.