Solihull College & University Centre has collaborated with Bullring, Birmingham to create a pre-employment training course which is proving a success.
Leigh Powell, Business Skills Advisor and Claire Bromage, Faculty Apprentice Co-ordinator worked with Bullring in setting up a bespoke course built around retail. The course held at the Bullring was delivered by Peter Harewood Retail/Customer Service Trainer from the college. The course was attended by a collection of retailers and employers including Timberland, Virtual X, Luke, Gap and ABM. Representatives spoke to promote current recruitment opportunities and discussed their companies in 10 minute Q & A sessions.
Covering several areas of working in retail and assisting attendees with applications, the course has become an established success.
GAP Store Manager Andrew Murphy-Hayes, employed 19 year old Maryam from the course. He stated: ‘It’s very important for employers to be actively involved in sourcing the right staff. It was great to connect and chat with the college representative Leigh. We were happy to commit and work alongside the college. This engagement at all levels was found to be a positive, simple procedure and we felt very comfortable with the course’. As part of the process to potential candidates, GAP Assistant Manager Craig Lysy, gave a presentation on the brand and what employers were looking for to help bring further guidance for those seeking a career in retail.
And what has been the response for GAP’s newest employee? ‘Maryam has a passion for learning, asks for constructive feedback, is confident and respected by the team, and really wants to succeed’.
Paul White, Environmental Services Manager at ABM, responsible for facilities at the Bullring employed two course attendees Joanne and Jag.
‘I am really impressed with the course. Both Jo and Jag are willing and keen, absorbing everything like sponges. The college assisted them with application forms and prepared them for interview. Candidates are supported on dual ends, and meeting them gave us the chance to sell ourselves to them as a company and talk to them one on one’.
Both Jo, 21 and Jag, 47 have proved capable and great ambassadors for the process. ‘I saw the course on the Bullring website’ Jo states, ‘I sent an email and was invited to the management meeting. The course was informative, there is much more to retail than I previously imagined. I would definitely recommend it, it really enhanced my skillset and I’m now in work’.
Jo now works on the mall, covering both day and twilight shifts. Paul states ‘she’s settled in very well and is friendly and positive, Jo is great’.
Jag, 47 from Harborne has similarly impressed during his time with the programme. ‘He stood out to me on the course’ Paul mentions, ‘he was keen and asked questions’. Jag works with the recycling team and in back of house for ABM. Jag states ‘the course was brilliant, the tutors were great. I saw the course advertised at Broad Street Job Centre and I’d always been interested in a retail career. After listening to Paul talk about ABM, I was interested. I really wasn’t expecting to get work so soon. I’d highly recommend it. It’s a great idea that employers can come and attend. It really helped me.’
After proving a success for employers and employees alike the college is running similar courses in September / October collaborating once more with the Bullring and also Grand Central.