Apprentice is hired at Manor Walks

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A STUDENT has been taken on as an apprentice at a Northumberland shopping centre.

Manor Walks has said ‘you’re hired’ to Morpeth student Rachel Dickinson as she takes on an apprenticeship scheme as part of her NVQ Business Administration level three course.

Rachel, 18, has joined the Manor Walks business administration team until July, where she will gain practical office-based skills including reception duties, customer service and general business administration responsibilities that are an essential requirement of her course.

Rachel secured her apprenticeship through the support of Future Strategies Consulting also based in the shopping centre, which is a training and development provider that tailors programmes specifically designed to meet the learning and development needs of organisations and their employees.

Manor Walks Shopping Centre general manager Bruno Coppola said: “Due to the expansion plans and our commitment to work closer with our tenants we found ourselves in need of an extra pair of hands in the management office.

“Future Strategies Consulting provided us with Rachel, who has just the right qualities to join our busy team. This also shows a great partnership between centre management and its tenants.

“A lot has been written about youth unemployment in the area, and it is really important to give a young person their first step on the career ladder, as well as being able to help them with their academic qualifications. “We’ve also seen a benefit in employing someone who already has a passion and experience in administration as well as developing their retail management experience.”

Rachel added: “I feel very privileged to have been offered the apprenticeship with Manor Walks Shopping Centre; it combines my two passions – admin and retail.

“I am already benefitting greatly from the expertise and support of the team and have been able to hit the ground running by helping on the exciting development plans for the new multi screen cinema and family restaurants.”

Plans for the first multiplex cinema on the adjoining Westmorland Retail Park were approved by Northumberland County Council in December, and also include the provision of family restaurants, improvements to South Mall and a 20 per cent increase in the number of parking spaces in South Mall car park. The plans will create up to 250 new jobs, as well as another 250 during the construction.

These proposals mark the first step towards further multi-million pound investment in Cramlington town centre.