Bluewater’s Young Apprentice Scheme

Date:Thu 7th October 2010

Last week I attended Bluewater’s Young Apprentice Scheme graduation ceremony where I met the apprentices that had been through a rigorous retail training scheme.

This scheme itself is recognised in the retail industry as the gold standard that all other apprenticeship schemes aspire to be like.  This year saw over one hundred applicants with seven new apprentices chosen. These apprentices will undertake various training sessions working both in Bluewater’s Learning Shop and in placements within stores at the centre. One of the trainers commented that “…. once you have worked in retail and learnt the art of diplomacy with awkward customers, sales techniques and team working, you are equipped to do most jobs and challenges that life throws at you …”  The scheme is yet another success story for Bluewater and its Chief Executive Andrew Parkinson.

Bluewater is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe and are the biggest employers in North Kent. The statistics are staggering.  Over 5,000 people apply for jobs every month; 7,000 people are employed there. Since opening 11 years ago they have brokered over 22,000 jobs and trained 10,000 people. Over half a million visits are made to the shopping centre each and every week. With the recent opening of the adventure golf course and the events centre next year it is a busy time for Bluewater.