2016-06-08 11:53:05 | Uncategorized
Today, Adam Savvas, our Pre-Employment Co-ordinator at MINT, talks to Sandra Annison who is the Office Manager at The Range about their longstanding partnership with us through which they provide work experience support for young people on one of our Pre-Employment projects.
1. How long has The Range been working with MINT?
“The Range has been working with MINT for over 6 years.”
2. Did you have any initial concerns about working with MINT for work experience?
“None at all. I am very open-minded to celebrating people’s differences and working with a wide range of people and finding out how to maximise their potential.”
3. What support measures do you put in place before MINT young people undertake work placements with you?
“Prior to the young people starting work experience MINT provides a pen picture which provides some background information on the young person. MINT and The Range arrange a store tour before they start work experience and this gives them a chance to meet the Department Manager and staff on the shop floor. We also find out from the pen picture the young person’s interest within the store and try to best match this up. For example a young person might like drawing so we’d put them on ‘Arts and Crafts’.”
4. Where abouts in the store can the young people work?
“The young people can work in most areas, except checkouts, in the warehouse or on the furniture department. All other areas are open to the young people where they can gain a wide range of skills from stocking, tagging, availability orders, pricing up and customer service on the shop floor. The young person is based in one department each week with a buddy on hand to help familiarise them with the role.”
5. What type of support do young people get from The Range?
“Pen pictures help provide prior knowledge, and with MINT’s guidance of the young person and our guidance of retail it forms a good team which works well. The communication with MINT is key, knowing MINT is on hand if needed and they always pop in on the shop floor, completing work reviews and chatting to the staff on how the young people are progressing.”
6. Has work experience led to paid employment with The Range?
“We have offered three jobs for MINT young people from work experience which were made permanent.
It has been a good way to bed the young people in. Mitchell has been our most recent MINT employed young person. Mitchell went the extra mile and came in to do overtime to get the Norwich store ready when our CEO Chris Dawson came in. Mitchell’s extra commitment demonstrated to me how much he wanted a paid job at The Range.
It’s also really nice to get feedback from you when young people complete work experience with The Range. For example when they progress after leaving The Range they tell us that working here gave them the added confidence in their next step.”
7. What has made MINT and The Range’s work experience offer work so well?
“Over the years both groups knows how each other work, plus great communication, whether this is face-to-face, by email, popping in or a phone call. Knowing MINT are always on hand makes you very supportive for us and the young people.”
8. How do you ensure the young people are getting on well during their work experience?
“I pop in on the shop floor and get feedback from the Department Managers and talk with the young people informally. They know I am on hand and here if needed. The young people complete a work placement booklet and have SMART targets which helps set goals for each shift.”
9. Have there been any difficulties or challenges with work experience and how was this overcome?
“A young person did have a wobble on the shop floor last year. As staff we found this initial situation quite challenging but MINT came in immediately and completed a review which helped resolve the situation. This resulted in the young person becoming more settled and successfully completing the full work experience placement.”
10. What have been some of the positive aspects for The Range of working with MINT?
“Seeing the confidence inside them grow. On the first day many young people look down at the floor, and seem very nervous in the busy shop floor environment. But over time they improve their communication and confidence levels.”
11. What advice or suggestions would you give other employers thinking of working with MINT?
“Just give it a go. You won’t regret it. I have found working with MINT really rewarding as I have seen first-hand how work experience with us has helped the young people gain employment. This has been either directly through us or giving them the transferable skills to use in another role. The young people also help The Range as they undertake real tasks which helps the day-to-day running of the store.”
Our Pre-Employment programmes run for 12 weeks and aim to prepare young people for paid employment by blending working experience with specific sector-based learning in our training suite and off-site. MINT offers Pre-Employment programmes throughout the year in Customer Service, Retail, Care, Administration and Hospitality.
Young people get two days per week of real experience in the workplace with the support of a MINT Employment Job Coach who works closely with the young person and the employer.
If you would like to chat to us about supporting on one of our Pre-Employment projects or in any other way then please contact us on 01603 773760 and speak to one of the team.