Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Program opens path to retailing with John Lewis
Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 43, Issue 6
John Lewis department stores has committed itself to offering successful participants of the Skillsmart Retail Works pre-employment program an interview or assessment-centre session at one of its stores, vacancies permitting.
Skillsmart Retail Works is a training course offered across the UK to those who want to get into retail, whether for the first time or after a period out of work. Over 30 hours, participants get the tools needed to succeed in retail, including product knowledge, effective selling skills, customer-service techniques and health and safety.
John Lewis has ring-fenced 400 assessment places at its new department store in Stratford, London, near the Olympic site. The retailer expects to create approximately 2,200 new jobs this year across the country.
Since Retail Works was introduced across Britain in January 2009, more than 20,000 people have attended the course. In 2010, an independent survey found that 53 per cent of candidates found employment because of the knowledge they learned on the program.
Anne Seaman, Skillsmart Retail chief executive, said: “It can be very frustrating for people trying to get a job in retail if they have no previous experience, because recruiters often disregard them and it becomes a Catch-22 situation. Retail Works demonstrates to retailers that a person has the knowledge and passion to work in retail and gives the individual confidence in interviews and at work.”
Jane Beine, head of partner development at John Lewis, said: “Our partners (the term the organization uses for its employees) are at the centre of our organization. They are hugely important to the business and their passion for retail is essential.
“We are delighted to be able to use the Skillsmart Retail Works program to help us to recruit for our new branch in Stratford. Helping people back into work and on to a career path in retail with John Lewis forms part of the personnel divisional strategy.”