The Range Ian Garstang – General Manager of The Range – Blackpool
I was looking to take on a number of people for the build up to the Christmas 2018 period. I had twelve vacancies that I wanted to fill within the store. We were looking at taking people on work experience for 1 week after the learners had completed a 2 week employability course within Seasiders learning centre. At the end of the weeks experience we agreed to interview each candidate with a view to them hopefully gaining employment with ourselves. We were looking at offering the learners contracts for thirteen weeks work with a start date of 24/09/2018.
Programme/What is being delivered:
At Seasiders learning centre we offered learners who had been referred from the Jobcentre the opportunity of a three week employability course. The first two weeks would be held at the Seasiders College. During the course as part of the Access to Employment the learner is encouraged to assess, evaluate and build on their own existing employability, social and personal skills. Also at the same time we help the individual’s confidence self-esteem and brief in gaining employment. The third week of the course was taken up as individual work experience within The Range as the employer.
Nature of support provided:
Seasiders met up with the General store Manager Ian Garstang at The Range along with the Employer & Partnership adviser from the Jobcentre. We all agreed the format of the course including how we would manage the work experience for The Range as the employer. Once the learners have been enrolled onto the course an individual assessment is carried out for each learner before their commencement onto the course.
How do participants benefit from the programme they are on with your organisation?
We ended up with ten learners on the programme. All ten completed which included the two week employability course within the college and the full weeks work experience. The programme has been specifically designed to support individuals who are unemployed and provide a foundation of skills required for entering the ‘World of Work’. Life coaching and motivational techniques are used to assist the individual learner with their confidence and also improving job prospects. The programme is very adaptable and learner focused. Topics included within the programme include Building resilience and ready for work, confidence building, identification of personal strengths, working with others, correct use of IT whilst job searching, create a marketable CV. They also have the opportunity to obtain a guaranteed interview with the employer and also The Range they have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience within the workplace. On the completion of the work experience they were given a 1-1 interview with the employer. All of the ten learners found the interview a valuable experience for their own development. After the interviews Ian Garstang the general manager of The Range was pleased to be able to offer seven of the learners paid employment contracts with a start date of the 24/09/2018. All of the seven have been offered a thirteen week contract which keeps them in employment until Christmas Eve 2018.
Of the remaining three participants on the course / work experience two have been placed on reserve for The Range and only one has been unsuccessful.
Whilst participating on the course the individual learner will have the opportunity to develop various skills. This includes being able to develop vocational skills in retail and customer service. They also develop interview skills and techniques, being able to present information by speaking and listening whilst obtaining an understanding their personal body language. They are able to develop their motivational skills by understanding their personal strengths and weaknesses, the learners also work towards obtaining certain qualifications and awards whilst on the course covering such subjects as ICT, Health and Safety, customer service, employability skills, supporting employability and personal effectiveness. Whilst completing the work experience with the employer the learner is able to gain valuable experience within the chosen work sector. Giving them a general outlook on day to day activities they will need to complete should they gain employment within this sector.
As the General Manager of The Range store I have been able to work alongside Seasiders, as part of the Blackpool and The Fylde College. We initially discussed my requirements within the store covering vacancies, timescales, individual job roles, my expectations as the store manager and how the work experience would benefit all ten of the applicants conducted themselves in the appropriate manner, myself and the team were able to observe how the individual participants performed the daily tasks set, how they worked within the team performed the daily tasks set, how they worked within the team and their suitability of gaining paid employment with ourselves. Due to the work experience we were able to establish the participants skills which then enabled ourselves to highlight to the individual the strengths and weaknesses they have, which then made the interview process at the end of the week a lot easier, fairer and less time consuming.
I would recommend this programme to our own chain supply within The Range and also other employers as the timescales within the retail environment are very tight and as we are approaching the busiest time of the year any help we can receive for our recruitment is seen as a bonus. I was able to discuss with the Seasiders our business requirements and the type of environment potential employees would be working within at The Range. During the weeks work experience it became clear who we felt would be an asset to our team within The Range and on observing individuals strengths and weaknesses we were able to determine which area within the store they would be more suited to work in.