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News: Ready for Retail

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014

School leavers discover their flair for retail.

A group of school leavers from Wingfield Academy in Rotherham are praising Parkgate Shopping and its retailers for giving them “a potentially life-changing” work experience over the summer.

The 16 year-olds, who are about to start further education or apprenticeship courses in the town, have successfully completed a 10-week work placement scheme organised by Parkgate Shopping and Rotherham Ready.

They all agreed that it had made a big difference to their understanding and attitude to work. “ This was our first experience of a 5-day working week, and although we were nervous at the beginning, we were given such good training and made to feel really welcome,” said Ché Elvin.

She added: “The real bonus was gaining the confidence to deal with the public. Being given responsibility for certain tasks and seeing at first-hand how the shops are managed were also very useful.”

The young people were congratulated by their “employers” ,Parkgate staff and Rotherham Ready at a celebratory event to mark the end of their placements.

Vicky Wild from Mothercare Outlet said: “They were all a credit to themselves, their parents and their former school. Their attention to detail was impressive, as was their keenness to learn and get things right. We would have no hesitation in considering them for temporary or permanent posts should opportunities arise.”

The scheme was successfully trialled last year as part of an ongoing Rotherham Ready programme to help schools and colleges across Rotherham to develop enterprise education. According to Kate Penney, enterprise education projects coordinator at Rotherham Ready, it has now established itself as a valuable step onto the employment ladder. Kate reported that “The skills and experience the young people have gained over these 10 weeks will greatly enhance their future employment prospects, it puts the application of learning into a real working context.”.

Denis Copeland, Manager of Parkgate Shopping, observed:“ They are going into the next phase of their education with more confidence and self-belief as well as an understanding about the real world of work, and the kind of careers they might wish to pursue.”