intu Properties plc has joined forces with a new North East education consultancy to tackle the predicted shortfall in core skills in the region’s future workforce.
Between 2005 and 2013, over 300 students from schools in the North East benefited from retail work placements at intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon Square through the Retail Gold programme, carried out in partnership with Newcastle Education Business Partnership.
In October 2013, then, regional management consultancy Employers in Education developed a new initiative with intu named World Class Retail Gold, ensuring excellence in the customer service training offered to work experience students.
Over the current academic year, students from four Newcastle Schools - Sacred Heart School, Gosforth Academy, Excelsior Academy and All Saints CE College - as well as those from Blaydon’s St Thomas More Catholic School are attending weekly placements at John Lewis and Debenhams in intu Eldon Square, and House of Fraser, WH Smith and M&S in intu Metrocentre.
They have also been placed within the intu customer services teams, receiving the same level of training all staff receive throughout the UK.
Alexander Nicoll, director of corporate responsibility at intu Properties, said: “This enhanced programme sees intu once again at the forefront of engagement with communities in the North East to promote skills, training and pathways to real and rewarding jobs.”