YOUNGSTERS in Warrington wanting to kick-start a career in retail will benefit from an innovative new training programme which is creating apprenticeship opportunities across the town.
The National Skills Academy for Retail (NSA for Retail) is trailblazing the Retail Apprenticeship Scheme (RAS), a new concept which aims to unearth and develop the best young recruits for small to medium sized retailers.
Smaller shops in Warrington which sign up with RAS will be provided with a cost-free and comprehensive recruitment service, which will match them up with a suitable apprentice. Crucially, and to the benefit of business owners, each apprentice will be employed by the Retail Apprenticeship Training Agency (RATA) - which manages the scheme - reducing the risk, cost, time and administration for retailers.
North West training provider Scientiam will be managing the scheme in the Warrington area, with apprentices being trained up through the academy retail skills shop in Liverpool.
As part of the unique programme, each young person, aged 16-18, will be fully assessed and given extensive pre-employment training, to ensure that they are job-ready. RAS is open to all independent retailers and market-traders in Warrington - all that retailers have to do is place a vacancy with Scientiam and they will do the rest.
Scientiam operations director Holly Tonge said: "We feel passionately about giving young people the opportunity to learn a brand new set of skills in a professional and supportive environment. We understand that it can be extremely daunting making that first move into a new career, so we do all we can to ensure that the apprentices taking part are fully supported through every step of the programme.
"In fact, before our trainees even start their placement, they have two weeks with us to learn the basics and build their confidence. We then provide additional support once the placement has begun by visiting the apprentices and their retailers twice a month to make sure that the programme is running smoothly and both are happy and comfortable.
"The programme is of huge benefit to Warrington retailers who take part too as they have an extra pair of hands in the busy run up to Christmas and a bespoke training framework, provided by us, which they can then use long into the future when recruiting other staff. Every type of retailer is taking part too, from market stall holders to high-end fashion boutiques and large-scale stores."
For more information or to sign up for the Retail Apprenticeship Scheme call 0844 264 0238 or email ras@nsaforretail.com