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John Lewis offers fast-track option to successful pre-employment programme candidates

John Lewis offers fast-track option to successful pre-employment programme candidates
 
John Lewis department stores has committed to offering successful participants of the Skillsmart Retail Works pre-employment programme, an interview or assessment centre session at one of their existing or new stores, vacancies permitting.
 
Skillsmart Retail Works is a training course offered across the UK to those who want to get into retail, whether for the first time or after a period out of work.  Over 30 hours, participants get all the tools needed to succeed in retail, including product knowledge, effective selling skills, customer service techniques and health and safety. 
 
John Lewis has committed to the programme and ring fenced 400 assessment places for candidates who successfully pass the Skillsmart Retail Works programme at its new department store in Stratford, London. The shop is due to open in September 2011, near the Olympic site.  The retailer expects to create approximately 2,200 new jobs this year across the country.  
 
Since the programme was rolled out nationwide in January 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.
 
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.
 
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.

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