Double recognition for Skills Shop star

Double recognition for Skills Shop star

Two awards point to a bright future in retail for Olinthia Christopher after an employment boost from the College’s bespoke training arm, the Skills Shop.

The mother-of-one received support from the College’s pioneering employability programme, based at Intu Trafford Centre, when she was referred after losing her job in credit card sales.

With just two weeks of workplace training, Olinthia was able to successfully put her new skills, shining CV and interview practice to the test, gaining work with department store behemoth, Debenhams - and what started as a seasonal post became permanent.

Olinthia said: “Because of the fact I’d been out of work for two years, I really lacked confidence, but the Skills Shop staff were amazing. They give you that encouragement - that boost. So when I went for an interview I wanted to give it my best. I couldn’t believe I had done so well.”

Debenhams since recognised Olinthia with a star award for “amazing opening accounts and fantastic customer service” and she received praise once at this year’s College’s FE Student Awards with Skills Shop recognition.

“This award really is the cherry on the cake,” Olinthia said. “Had the Skills Shop staff been my teachers at school, I’m sure I would be prime minster by now! I was nervous when I started at the Skills Shop, as one of the oldest trainees there, but I was so impressed by such a brilliant level of teaching."

The Skills Shop offers expert advice and guidance across a number of industry sectors, providing support with apprenticeships, skills development, training and careers. Workplace partners include the Department of Work and Pensions, local councils and charities.

Its unique training covers a wide range of employability skills, including selling techniques, stock control, handling guidelines, retail law and legislation and customer service.

Employability and Skills Manager at the Skills Shop, Jemma Lees, said: “Olinthia really is a shining star in customer service. She had never worked in retail before, but was so eager to learn. We’re so proud she has been able to use her newfound knowledge and skills to such a high level of excellence.”

If you would like to take part in the Skills Shop’s bespoke employability programme based at Lower Regent Crescent next to the bus station at Intu Trafford Centre, please call (0161) 747 4674 to find out more.