Vicar Lane Shopping Centre’s recent work experience programme has been hailed as a huge success, after independent retailers helped with providing a 10-week work course for learners from Shirebrook.
The programme, put together by Shaun Brown, Centre Manager of Vicar Lane, and Sandra Currey, Programme Development Worker for Derbyshire Adult Community Education Services (DACES), saw five young learners from Shirebrook work with the centre’s independent outlets (Qoozies, Nana B Baby Boutique, Shop Indie and Gorilla Garms), as well as the Centre Management team.
The programme helped the learners to broaden their horizons, raise their aspirations and understand the reality of the world of work.
Each week, the learners began their day with an introductory session at the Centre Management Suite, before heading off to work in the participating independent outlets from 10am until 3pm. They then ended the day back at the Centre Management Suite where they reflected on their day’s work.
Taking part in the work experience programme has enabled the learners to bridge the gap between their education and the world of work, and helped them to find out more about potential career paths that are open to them.
The Shirebrook learners, said:
- ‘’The programme has gone very well, I was quite nervous at the start but once I met Shaun, I felt a lot more comfortable and as the weeks kept going, I starting to feel a lot more confident. The placement has helped me decide what I want to do in the future.’’
- ‘’My favourite part of the placement was getting to know all the staff and being able to get along with everyone because they are so friendly – I was offered an apprenticeship opportunity, and this has boosted my confidence.’’
- ‘’Doing this work experience has helped me gain the confidence to work with the general-public, and work in a professional manner and to be able to handle working under pressure.’’
- ‘’I have really enjoyed the online side of the business – it has been interesting tracking the customers who shop online and sending emails to them to let them know their order is on the way.’’
- ‘’My placement has been amazing – this programme has helped me with talking to new people and has improved my confidence.’’
- ‘’My placement has been great! I have gained confidence and learnt how to deal with difficult situations in a professional way.’’
Carole Healey, Programme Development Manager, said: “I was extremely impressed by the care, support and professionalism of Shaun. The fact that in order to facilitate our learners to the best of his ability and support them, Shaun also undertook to gain a teaching qualification in record time!”
“The inspirational way in which Shaun engages with our young people and the staff who have hosted them in their chosen work placements, is very evident. I could see for myself the difference it made. I witnessed the increase in confidence and maturity that this programme has given them.
“I would like to thank Shaun and everyone involved in this programme. The impact on these young people cannot be underestimated and I know they will carry this experience as a positive in their lives.”
Sandra Currey, Programme Development Worker, said: “Shaun was instrumental in setting up initial meetings with the employers and encouraging them to take part in the work experience pilot and he has taken an active role each week by delivering an excellent induction and several Nearpod lessons based around health and safety to ensure that learners were prepared for the world of work.”
“Shaun went over and above our expectations and undertook the Award in Education and Training qualification before the placement started to ensure that he delivered a professional service for our learners – we can’t thank him enough.”
“Shaun has enhanced the Study Programme curriculum by his involvement and everyone at DACES hopes that the project can continue in the future.”
Bev McKenzie, Study Programme Worker and Tutor, said: “Vicar Lane Shopping Centre and Shaun Brown have been tremendous in providing our students with the best possible work placement for their Customer Service qualification and work experience.
“Shaun supported them throughout the process and communicated with the tutors regularly so to ensure the project ran smoothly. We have created a great working relationship with Shaun and look forward to working with him in Sept 2021 when our new cohort are on board.”
Vicar Lane Shopping Centre supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.