A course designed to get 1066 country jobseekers into the retail industry was launched yesterday (Wednesday, October 14).
The retailRIGHT 10-week programme provides training and work experience in the industry for people of all ages who are out of work or education.
Charity retailTRUST organise the course and have lined up work placements at Clarks, Pets at Home, M&S and a number of independent stores in Hastings and Bexhill.
The first group were visited by Hastings mayor Bruce Dowling at their classroom at the Hastings Works, Robertson Street.
He seemed impressed by the course and gave some advice to the hopeful students.
“One thing we are all interested in is creating opportunities for people to work and I think that’s one of the most important things at the present time,” he said.
“It’s done in several ways but this is the first time I’ve come across this one.
“There are jobs out there, they’re not the easiest thing to get but they are there.
“If I can do it then most of you can do it.
“I may be the mayor of Hastings but I am also dyslexic.
“If you are prepared to get out there and do it and get yourself motivated then it’s possible.”
retailTRUST’s Naomi Hogg introduced the course and said the benefits of the programme are that employers can see you doing the job making you more employable.
But at the very least, you get an NVQ and a professional reference.
The idea behind the course is to break the cycle of not having a job and not being able to get experience to get a job.
Approximately one in three participants get a job at the end of the course so the current group are hopeful of their chances.
Eden Card is 19 and has some experience in the industry but said she would do anything to get a job.
“I’ll try anything,” she said.
“I’ve been out of work for over a year so I want to get back into work and I want what better way than going into retail.”
Josh Lievesley, 24, saw the course advertised on Jobs Indeed and hopes to secure a placement in Clarks or M&S.
“I’ve just come out of work and this looked like a good way to get back in to it,” he said.
The course has been successful in the north and was originally only for people aged between 18 and 24-years-old.
But the charity recently received a grant to extend the course to people of all ages.
One person to benefit from this is Fiona McCornick.
The 59-year-old said she had had no luck looking for work over the past five years but hopes this will be the break she’s been waiting for.
“I’ve had a terrible time with jobs but if this will help me back that will be great,” she said.
“Most courses are aimed at 18-25 year-olds and it’s much harder for people over 30.
“This is the first opportunity since being in Hastings.
“I’ve worked for all my life before coming to Hastings and I feel like I have wasted the last five years of my life.”
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