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Posted: 25 January 2012
Blog category: News
Brewer Shepherd Neame has teamed up with Jobcentre Plus to give Kent jobseekers aged between 18 and 24 the skills and experience to equip them for the world of work.
The company has already helped three young people to develop a range of skills, including driving a forklift truck, at its distribution centre on the outskirts of Faversham.
Now warehouse manager Tony Berllaque is set to interview a fresh batch of candidates at Sittingbourne Jobcentre for the chance to take part in another eight-week work experience scheme during the spring.
Tony said: “This initiative gives young people a true experience of work. If they are successful, they leave with a reference, a pallet truck licence and a forklift licence.”
Under the scheme, candidates continue to receive their regular benefits, while working for a maximum of 30 hours a week for a maximum of eight weeks.
Tony said: “They are asked to attend with steel toe-capped boots and a high visibility jacket and work six hours a day, Monday to Friday. We give them a basic company induction and health and safety training and they start with “housekeeping”, straightening pallets and tidying up generally, before moving on to “picking”, preparing cases of beer for dispatch.
“They move on to using a pallet truck and if they show aptitude with this and suitable commitment, they take the three-day forklift truck course. We’ve had three guys aged 22, 19 and 18 who have seen it through and left us with good references and Mechanical Handling Equipment licences.”
Jobcentre Plus operations manager Kevin Payne said Kent currently had 10,875 young people aged 18 to 24 out of work, including 1,220 in the Swale district.
“We really appreciate this interest from local employers,” he said. “Shepherd Neame is a reputable company, with a well organised manufacturing and distribution operation and thorough in-house training.
“It is a big step from school to the world of work and some of these 18 to 24-year olds haven’t worked before. Shepherd Neame has given them an opportunity to experience a professional environment, to work alongside role models and to boost self-confidence. This kind of work experience can make young people feel a lot more positive about selling themselves to a future employer.”
Jobcentre Plus is organising an Employer Breakfast Event to discuss local apprenticeships, work experience and work trials. The free event is scheduled for Thursday February 9 at Sheppey College, Bridge Road, Sheerness, from 8 to 10am. For details, call employee adviser Paul Norris on 01795 562679 or email him.