Gateshead College and JD Sports partnership creates jobs

One of the North East’s leading colleges has teamed up with a global retail sports giant to enable employment opportunities for people across the region and help with the staffing crisis the retail sector is experiencing.

Working with Sunderland-based employment partner Path2Solutions and the Metrocentre, Gateshead College has seen students secure full time jobs directly from its customer service course. The college runs the four-day course at the Metrocentre and partnered with JD Sports to help them recruit and fill vacancies – a key issue many retailers across the region are currently facing.

The course is specifically tailored to develop work ready skills for retail positions. Following the course, all eight candidates were offered a job at JD Sports in the Metrocentre store.

Jodie Smith, a retail sales manager at JD Sports, said: “Many retailers across the North East and other regions are facing challenging times from a recruitment perspective.

“Given the skills shortage we face in retail, working in partnership with the Metrocentre, Path2Solutions and Gateshead College has been really rewarding.

“It’s enabled us to not just fill our vacancies but genuinely equip local people with relevant skills that will enable them to lead a successful career in retail.”

The course started on a Monday and by Friday afternoon all candidates were offered a position at JD Sports ranging from cashiers to warehouse assistants.

Vicky Cross, head of department – digital technologies and business at Gateshead College, said: “We pride ourselves on being a training provider of choice, helping to meet skills shortages faced by businesses and equipping people with work ready skills they need to secure a permanent job.

“We forge employer partnerships that we know will make a difference and deliver tangible value to both our students and the businesses we work with.

“It’s important to construct bespoke courses that are tailored to enable the development of specific skills so that people are prepared to fulfil the responsibilities of their job role and businesses are given the skills they need to continue to grow and succeed.

“Everyone involved in this partnership has played a critical role in not just creating jobs for our students but also helping to meet current and future industry needs.

“As a college we’re constantly developing new ways to help improve employability and also meet the needs of employers too. We wish our students the best of luck as they start their career in retail.”

Gateshead College works with many of the region’s largest employers, developing bespoke training programmes that enable them to recruit successfully and equip employees with work ready skills. North East businesses the college partners with includes Primark, Smyths and New Look.

Michelle Howe, 50, a cashier at JD Sports, said: “I would never have got this job if it wasn’t for this course. My background is in banking and hospitality, I didn’t know how I could use these skills to be successful in a retail role. This course taught me how. I now work 40 hours a week as a cashier and I love being part of the JD team.”