From education to employment

Barnardo’s to offer staff in-store training with EDI

(Pictured: Paul Boulton, National Advanced Apprenticeship 2009 Award winner)

A young manager of Barnardo’s, the charity working with more than 100,000 children, young people and their families in nearly 400 specialised projects across the UK, has been awarded the prestigious National Advanced Apprenticeship 2009 Award.

Paul Boulton, who at 24 is the youngest manager of a Barnardo’s store in the UK, gained awarding body EDI’s NVQs in Customer Service, Retail Operations and Management across Levels 2 and 3, and an A1 Assessor’s Award.

The Apprentice of the Year Awards celebrate apprentices’ exceptional contributions to their workplace and, as a result of their success, four Barnardo’s stores will be implementing an NVQs programme from EDI with training provider Positive Outcomes. The charity is also taking steps to roll-out the move nationwide.

Helen Hart, head of training and quality at Positive Outcomes, said: “In offering bespoke training in the retail sector, we work closely with businesses to ensure that the skills are relevant to the employee’s personal development plan and the company’s overall business objectives. EDI is flexible about the way it works so in turn we are able to deliver the training tailored to the needs of our business partners.

“Traditionally the retail industry suffers from the perception that it does not offer comprehensive and appealing career prospects and many employers question the value of vocational and skills-based training. However, many individuals recognise that in a future where their career is uncertain, as it is in this recession, that re-skilling is crucial. Work-based learning is also an efficient way of helping businesses forced to make redundancies to offer a first class customer service with fewer staff.”

Mr Boulton, who manages Barnardo’s Alfreton in Derbyshire, commented, “I left school at 16 with virtually no qualifications and no self confidence. School was hell for me. I got bullied and couldn’t wait to leave. When I first joined Barnardo’s as a volunteer, I had no idea that it would transform my life so significantly. Learning in the workplace really made a difference. Instead of feeling harassed, I felt nurtured and my confidence grew. I realised I had skills that I could put into practice and, for the first time in my life, I enjoyed learning.

“The training provided by Positive Outcomes is excellent. It is really fulfilling for me to watch the team progressing and to see them learning skills that are so pertinent to the job. No two people learn in the same way, so courses are tailored to meet the needs of the individual, learning opportunities are maximised and real work skills can be immediately put into practice in the workplace.”

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