A local Gateshead college graduate has been offered a tasty new management opportunity after climbing the ranks to become one of intu’s Retail Gold rising stars.

Siobione Chambers, from Gateshead found permanent employment at Five Guys intu Metrocentre after just three weeks of training on the Retail Gold hospitality programme at Gateshead College in 2016.

Having impressed during the last two years with the well-known restaurant chain, in June this year, Siobione was given the opportunity to take the first steps into management and was promoted to supervisor.

Retail Gold is a partnership between intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon Square, Gateshead College and Jobcentre Plus, supplying retailers in the North East with a world class recruitment and training solution – providing industry standard pre-employment training to job seekers.

Siobione was congratulated personally by Blaydon MP Liz Twist and Phil Steele, General Manager intu Eldon Square, representing intu.

Tracy Allison, project manager at intu for Retail Gold said: “Retail Gold has gone from strength to strength over the past four years and it’s great to see Siobione’s talent and commitment rewarded with a fantastic promotion.

“Retail is a personality-led career option proving a springboard to progress into various different sectors within the industry. We’re also thrilled to have local MP, Liz Twist on board to support the academy and recognise talent we have here in the region.”

The three-week course enables industrious people from the region to develop essential employability skills, raise self-confidence and gain thorough insights into all aspects of working in retail or hospitality. Those who successfully complete the course can earn four qualifications to take with them into the industry.

Commenting on her promotion, Siobione said: “I found out about Retail Gold via word of mouth, and went along to my local Job Centre for more information. Now, two years on, I’m thrilled to step into my first management role at Five Guys and grateful for the opportunities the programme has given me. I’m looking forward to leading the restaurant’s great team as we take on some new challenges together.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said: “Retail Gold is designed to help the sector by equipping people like Siobione with the right skills and attributes to deliver quality service in cafes, restaurants and shops. Not only does this enable companies to plug skills gaps in their workforce, it also provides local people with a route to employment or an opportunity to retrain and change careers.

“The retail industry is a key driver of the economy and Gateshead College will continue to work with employers to help them build an agile, productive workforce for the future.”

Since the training academy first launched in 2014, Retail Gold has placed more than 400 people with 50 different retailers at both intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre.

For more information and to apply, visit intu.co.uk/metrocentre/jobs/retail-gold, intu.co.uk/eldonsquare/jobs/retail-gold or www.gateshead.ac.uk/retail-gold.