UNEMPLOYED young people were invited to find out more about the food industry and help prepare them for the workplace with workshops led by The Co-Operative Group.
The workshops, held on Monday and Tuesday at the firm’s store in Duke Street, Douglas, were part of Feeding Britain’s Future – Skills for Work Week, a British Isles-wide campaign, from September 17 to 21 to help unemployed people aged 16 to 24.
But out of the 12 people due to attend the sessions, advertised by the Job Centre, only three turned up.
One of those who attended was Richard Cooper, aged 26, of Castletown.
He said: ‘I’ve been unemployed on and off for 10 years. I’ve had trials and short stints but nothing solid.’
He described being in a ‘Catch-22 situation’, with prospective employers favouring those with experience in the role, but no one being willing to give him the experience necessary to get his first step on the career ladder.
When asked what he hoped to get out of the workshop, Richard said: ‘I thought it was a good opportunity to learn more new skills, especially for someone like me who is in long-term unemployment.’
He added: ‘I hope it will help me with my job search.’
The workshops saw participants learning about the different jobs available in food retail, what the job involves and what behaviour would be expected of them in the role. The importance of customer service and having a positive approach were also highlighted.
They also received training in the skills they need to help them secure jobs, such as creating a CV and interview techniques.
The workshops were led by Sarah Thompson, The Co-Operative’s operations trainer, who said: ‘The aim is to provide young people with the knowledge and skills to get a job.’
She added: ‘Young people are not given the opportunities. Either they don’t have the experience to do the job or the skills or the knowledge.’
Andrew Corrie, The Co-Operative’s area operations manager, said: ‘We are very, very keen to promote retail as a career for people and we provide lots of promotion opportunities in our business as it is a genuine career path.’
He said the turnout was disappointing but added that if there was enough interest, then another session could be organised.
At the end of August unemployment stood at 992, an unemployment rate of 2.2 per cent.
The number includes 38 people under the age of 18.
In addition, and not included in the figures, are 40 people aged under 18, who are registered with the careers office but not claiming any benefits.
Feeding Britain’s future involved food and grocery companies opening their doors across the British Isles to offer 10,000 unemployed youngsters the training they need to help them get a job in more than 700 locations.
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