Following the collaborative success of its Pets at Home training academy, leading recruitment agency Encore Personnel is looking to enhance the programme further by training up to 10 new recruits each month.
The Academy, which has now been running for four months, prepares those who have had years of difficulty finding a job, by equipping them with the skills to perform well in interviews and the necessary training to work as a handpicker for potential experience at the UK’s largest pet supplies retailer, Pets at Home.
A total of 35 people have gone through the training programme, with 15 recruits receiving employment as agency staff at Pets at Home’s national distribution centre in Stoke on Trent. Now, Encore Personnel wants to ramp up its efforts and hope to train up to 10 recruits a month to help the retailer meet business demand.
Encore Personnel - which has an onsite team hiring and supporting the agency workers at Pets at Home - launched the academy in partnership with the job centre to tackle unemployment issues. While the unemployment rate is currently at its lowest in 40 years, the UK is still seeing more than 1.36 million people out of work.
Andy Lewis, Operations Director at Encore Personnel, said: “Unemployment continues to be a key issue across the country and what many don’t realise is that there are keen individuals who want to work, but because they don’t have the right skills or attributes, they find themselves out of work for years.
“As recruitment specialists, we understand the importance of offering training where necessary and the academy has been pivotal in providing work and life skills to those who need to get back into work and society.
“By supporting those out of work through training and interviews and even after they have secured a permanent job, we’re not only helping to improve the large unemployment figures but we are also giving people a chance to have a job they can be proud of and succeed in.”
Encore provides a two-week warehousing course with Dudley College, covering key skills such as manual handling to improve performance levels. The training has enabled recruits, who have been unemployed for years, to utilise these key skills to find work.
This included 43-year-old, Lee Grocott, from Stoke-on-Trent who was unemployed for five years before he received training and the opportunity to be employed by Pets at Home.
Lee said: “‘Although the Academy was a challenge for me at first because I have never worked in warehousing before, I really liked learning the new skills. Pets at Home is a very happy place to work and there’s always somebody available if you need help.”
Joining Lee at Pets at Home is Jeanette Machin, aged 52, also from Stoke on Trent. Jeanette previously worked in the care industry for 14 years but wanted a career change. With little experience and skills to make the big job move, she found herself unemployed for over nine months, before she joined the academy.
Jeanette said: “I thought it was time for a change of career and after many different training courses, I was sent to this one. The training was hard but really enjoyable. If I’ve ever had any concerns or questions there was always a member of the team available to help - it's like one big family. I really enjoy my job and wish I’d had the support from Encore to help me join the team years ago.”