Serving Up The Best Job Opportunities

Pic: Retail Gold Success - Siobione Chambers at work at Five Guys, intu Metrocentre 

A pre-employment retail training programme that has helped over 200 people into work is expanding to provide further opportunities in hospitality.

A partnership between intu, Gateshead College and Jobcentre Plus has been supplying retailers in the north east with a world class recruitment and training solution, providing industry standard pre-employment training to job seekers.

The three week course is now expanding to include training in the hospitality sector, alongside an introduction to intu’s world class customer services programme, basic food preparation, food safety, health, safety, equality, diversity and problem solving.

Tracy Allison, project manager for Retail Gold said: “This is an incredibly exciting development for Retail Gold, which has gone from strength to strength in the last three years, during which time over forty different retailers at both intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon Square have offered positions to those attending pre-employment course, including BHS, Collectables Debenhams, HMV, Namco and Swarovski.

“In order to enable local people to equip themselves with the right skills and attributes to deliver quality service in restaurants and cafes, Gateshead College has designed an industry standard pre-employment training course, specifically for those interested in hospitality. This additional option will be included in the expanded scope of the new ‘Retail Gold.’

“It is great news that retailers now look to the Retail Gold talent pool when recruiting new staff, and there will be further demands for hospitality staff in particular with the expansion of the food offer at both intu Eldon Square and intu Metrocentre in 2016.”

Scores of hospitality jobs have been created on completion of the £17m development extension of The Qube at intu Metrocentre, in April, an area that already attracts thousands of visitors every week with a mix of popular restaurants and an Odeon Imax Cinema.

Retail Gold trainee Siobione Chambers, from Gateshead, has found permanent employment at Five Guys, one of the new restaurants in the new Qube dining & leisure quarter, following just three weeks of training on the Retail Gold hospitality programme.

Siobione, 27, mum to 5-year-old Lyra, said: “I found out about Retail Gold via word of mouth, and went along to my local Job Centre for more information. It sounded right up my street, as I really wanted to work with people, and not be stuck in an office. I quickly gained qualifications in occupational studies, employability skills, equality and diversity and health and safety, and was thrilled when I was offered this job at Five Guys! I’m working 50 hours a week, plus overtime, and I’m enjoying it so much the hours just fly by! We have a great team here, and good incentives too, as the more you learn the more you earn. I am so grateful that I heard about Retail Gold as now I feel I’m in a really good place in my life, with earning power and a job I really enjoy.”

Julie Kelly, work based learning manager at Gateshead College, said: “Thanks to the strong partnership built between Gateshead College, intu and Jobcentre Plus we have been able to equip local people with the skills and attributes employers need to deliver the highest quality service in their businesses.

“intu retailers are benefiting from access to a skilled pool of candidates and local people have the opportunity to secure jobs and careers. Retail Gold has been a real success and it is great now to be in a position where we can extend our programme to include hospitality giving local people in the best opportunity to secure work in the many new restaurants and cafes.”