From education to employment

Retail Academy Nominated for Training Awards

The Cheshire Oaks Retail Academy (CORA) has been selected to enter the prestigious regional finals of The National Training Awards.

This represents a major success for CORA, and is an appropriate recognition for the service they offer. Having just celebrated its first birthday, CORA seems to be going from strength to strength and now enjoys a reputation that has led other shopping centres and local authorities to investigate particular aspects of the CORA set-up.

The Introduction to Retail course targets unemployed people in the area of West Cheshire, aiming to provide a platform of skills and resources that will enable students to enter the retail sector. The 4-week long course structure includes work placements and guaranteed interviews as well as workshops on CV writing and aspects of presentation.

Quality Over Quantity

Indeed, the brevity of the course is in many ways a major strength. By keeping the scheme to a 4-week timetable there is an added intensity and purpose that indicates that success is increasingly likely, in terms of cutting unemployment and finding skilled people for the retail sector. Thus far approximately 75% of long-term unemployed participants found work as a result of the set-up.

Another contributory factor to CORA’s success is the close involvement of employers in the running and planning of the organisation. The original partnership was composed of local stakeholders McArthur Glen, Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council, West Cheshire College, Jobcentre Plus and Connexions. The involvement of these organisations is perhaps the biggest reason for the accomplishments at CORA; people can be trained in the skills that are really needed and the program is tailored to providing the employers with what they require. While it is still early days for CORA, the future seems bright!

James Ferrow

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