John Lewis offers guaranteed interviews to Skill Smart Retail Works graduates
Skillsmart Retail Works is a nationwide training programme for people who want to work in retail. John Lewis has committed to the programme by ringfencing 400 assessment places for candidates who successfully pass the programme at its new department store in Stratford, London. The shop is due to open in September 2011, near the Olympic site.
Anne Seaman, chief executive of Skillsmart Retail, 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 is a fantastic route into retail. It demonstrates to retailers that a person has the knowledge base and passion to work in retail and gives the individual confidence in interviews and at work.”
Since the Skillsmart Retail programme was rolled out nationwide in 2009, over 20,000 people have attended the course. In 2010 an independent survey found that 53% of Retail Works candidates found employment because of the knowledge learnt on the programme.
Jane Beine, head of partner development at John Lewis, said: “Our Partners are at the centre of our organisation. 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 programme to help us recruit for our new branch in Stratford. Helping people back into work and onto a career path in retail with John Lewis is very exciting and forms part of the personnel divisional strategy.”
John Lewis said it expects to create approximately 2,200 new jobs this year throughout the UK.
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