Shopping centre Westfield London is to partner a programme aimed at getting unemployed people back into work, it was announced today.
The local initiative called ‘Off the Bench’ aims at securing work for those aged 35 and over in the W12 postcode.
Run by jobs website Totaljobs.com and QPR in the Community Trust, the charitable arm of Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club, the scheme is focused on helping those who have been out of work for more than six months.
Experts from Westfield London will run a seminar with the jobseekers advising on how to land a job in retail through transferable skills.
Emma Hindes, the shopping centre’s General Manager, explained that many jobseekers often lose confidence in their own abilities after struggling to find work.
“At Westfield London we offer a huge variety of positions that require a diverse range of skills,” she added.
“Our aim with the Off the Bench programme is to communicate to jobseekers that by using your transferable skills, like customer service, it can open the door to sectors you may not have thought were a possibility.”
A number of recruitment agencies have offered to share expertise to help jobseekers find work and can help to provide valuable work placements or experience to the Off the Bench graduates.
John Salt, Director of Totaljobs.com, welcomed the involvement of Westfield London, which was recently voted the UK’s top standalone shopping centre in a recent survey by retail and e-commerce consultancy Venuescore.
“I’m delighted Westfield has chosen to support this project as they can offer expertise to make a real difference to the local community.
“As the public sector shrinks and the jobs market becomes tougher than ever, it’s vital that initiatives like ours exist to provide jobseekers with a route back to work.”
Other participants in the scheme include Quest Search and Selection, a retail recruitment agency based in the west London area.
Tom Irwin, Quest’s Commercial Director, said : “As a business which has been based in Hammersmith since we launched over 17 years ago, we’re delighted to be given the opportunity to reach out to the local community in this way.
“When we announced the partnership to our staff, we were overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and number of people who volunteered to lead training sessions. Our team is confident that we can offer valuable support and advice to the participants.”