Skills shop recruits for a ‘Range’ of jobs

95 jobs filled at local development.

Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Black Country Skills Shop, based at the Merry Hill Centre, has helped the shopping centre’s new home, leisure and garden superstore, The Range, recruit and train almost 100 employees in partnership with Jobcentre Plus.

Staff at the Skills Shop worked with Jobcentre Plus in the Black Country to identify local, unemployed people and sifted through the 300 candidates that were referred to them, interviewing them and taking them through a range of training courses including Customer Services, Teamwork, Business Customer Awareness and Problem Solving to prepare them for full and part time employment with the superstore.

Emma Davies, Office Manager at the The Range, said:  “We were really excited to open a new superstore at the Merry Hill Centre but needed to recruit a whole new team of staff that would be ready to start work when the doors opened.  The Black Country Skills Shop, along with Jobcentre Plus, really pulled out all the stops in our recruitment drive and, to date, we’ve taken on 95 members of staff.”

Tina Dalzell, Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Black Country Skills Shop Manager, said:  “Due to the volume of staff required in order to get the new store up and running, we had to undertake a massive recruitment drive with Jobcentre Plus, identifying and interviewing 300 potential candidates and then getting the successful ones through training to help them with their day to day duties once they’d started work.  Out of 96 people who were selected, I’m delighted to say that 95 of them got jobs with The Range, supporting our efforts to reduce unemployment in the local area through partnership working.”

Lena Portman, 27 from Dudley, had been unemployed for nine years, having left school with no qualifications and caring for her father before starting a family.  She said:  “After being unemployed for so long, I didn’t really have the confidence to start looking for jobs which was why the support the Skills Shop offered us was so helpful.  The courses they took us through helped build my confidence and helped me to understand how to deal with people.  It’s really great being able to go to work and I’m really enjoying the job.”

Lena was named Employee of the Month for November, nominated by her colleagues, and was presented with a voucher to spend in the store.

The Black Country Skills Shop is part of the National Skills Academy for Retail and primarily offers people employed in retail, as well as those hoping to enter the sector, the opportunity to access nationally recognised training and qualifications, including pre-employment courses, apprenticeships and management programmes.