|Kate Culverhouse of Groundwork North East|
A group of young people from County Durham are celebrating, as they graduated from The Prince’s Trust Get into Retail course in association with Groundwork North East.
Twelve trainees took part in the programme, impressing organisers with their commitment and enthusiasm as they received expert guidance in working in a retail environment. Three of the young people have gone on to be offered positions with Cotswold Outdoor and Bolton Care Group.
The nationally successful “Get into Retail” course is run regularly for young people in County Durham, as the number of young unemployed people aged 16-24 hits 34%.
One success story is Matthew Witney, 21, of Esh Winning, who secured a job at Cotswold Outdoor after being unemployed for 12 months. After finishing college in 2011, Matthew had high hopes of securing work but as the months went by with no luck he began to lose hope.
He said: “The Get into Retail course gave me the chance to gain skills and on the job work experience in customer service and I learned so much on my placement. Before the course I was struggling to find work so it feels great to have secured a job and finally be able to support myself.”
The three-week programme offers young people the opportunity to gain qualifications in customer service, health and safety and emergency first aid.
After an initial two weeks of training, each trainee completed work experience in County Durham, giving them vital on the job experience. The young people will then be supported for six months by The Prince’s Trust, helping them into further work, education or training.
Lucy Hornsby of The Prince’s Trust said: “We are proud to work with Groundwork North East in giving young people across the region expert training and providing them with the skills and confidence to secure employment in retail.
“It is clear that it is a tough time for young people when youth unemployment is so high, so it is great to see that three of the trainees have gone on to get job offers already.”
Kate Culverhouse, Managing Director of Groundwork North East, said: “Our collaboration with the Prince’s Trust and local retailers is an ideal way of providing young people with a taste of the world of work and also equipping them with the confidence to help them secure a job.
“The Get into Retail Scheme combines the provision of practical skills with the opportunity for the participants to gain valuable direct experience in a retail environment, which will enhance their employability and their CVs.
“The worth of the initiative is demonstrated by three of the young people, including Matthew, being offered retail jobs. I wish them and the other participants all the success for the future.”
Last year, three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust moved into work, training or education.
Youth charity The Prince's Trust helps change young lives. It supports 13- to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. Many of the young people helped by The Prince’s Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or they have been in trouble with the law.
The next Get into Retail course begins on 18th February 2013. The programme is open to unemployed young people aged 16-25. Please contact Jacqui Hodgson – 0191 386 3861/0780 307 9643 or email: Jacqui.Hodgson@groundwork.org.uk for more information.