Two of the region’s biggest shopping centres are taking part in Retail Matters Week which celebrates the retail industry and the positive impact that it has on both the local economy and careers opportunities for young people.
To show their support for the national campaign intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre have announced the expansion of the Retail Gold extended work experience initiative, with four new retailers joining Retail Gold which will encourage more of the retail stars of the future to achieve their goals.
Both shopping centres have been at the heart of Retail Gold since it started in 2005 and the programme has been a gateway for more than 460 sixth form students in Newcastle and Gateshead to gain real experience of working in a variety of shop floor and hospitality settings, providing 52,000 hours of mentoring support.
Lush, Tiger and HMV at intu Eldon Square along with Debenhams at intu Metrocentre have joined long-standing partners such as John Lewis to make a real difference to the lives and aspirations of the students involved.
The programme not only raises the self-confidence and self-esteem of students but it increases their awareness of their employability skills and opens up exciting, fulfilling and rewarding career opportunities in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector.
Phil Steele, general manager at intu Eldon Square, said: “A huge thank you to all of the retailers who support Retail Gold. The initiative is hugely beneficial not just for the young people who are being mentored but it gives companies the chance to train up the retail stars of the future.”
Lewis Spark, age 16 from Gosforth Academy Sixth Form is currently on work placement at Waitrose as part of a business course. Lewis commented: “The placement is helping me to prepare for the future by giving me an experience of retail so I will understand all the main aspects of it. I have particularly enjoyed the part of the day involving stock checking and ordering if we don’t have enough for the next day.”
Andy Pritchard, manager of HMV, intu Eldon Square, added: “Retail Gold is a great opportunity for students to gain an insight into the working world. HMV supports the programme so that students can get first hand valuable experience within a fast paced vibrant retail environment.”
Ellie Erskine, age 16, from Gosforth Academy Sixth Form , currently on work placement at Lush, said: “Having come from a different school I thought that the work placement was an interesting part of the one-year course. It is giving me an experience of something different and helping me to learn new skills. I have enjoyed learning about how the company first started, how it works and what it stands for.”