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Free course at Alton Towers helping tackle unemployment

By Rebecca Stanley | Attractions | Published:

A group of young people from Staffordshire are set to learn that they have landed life-changing jobs at Alton Towers Resort, following months of unemployment.

The 11 job seekers have spent the last four weeks behind the scenes at Alton Towers Resort taking part in a four-week Get into Customer Service programme that is supported by The Prince’s Trust.

Today they attended an event to celebrate the completion of the course where the young people will present about their four weeks’ experience in front of line managers, work buddies and their families where they were told the exciting news that they have landed themselves roles working at the attraction.

The group, who are from a variety of different backgrounds and aged between 16 to 30 years old, have spent the last four weeks experiencing a variety of customer-facing and behind-the-scenes roles at the resort including positions in park operations, rides, retail, Sea Life Centre, hotels, entertainments and food and beverage.

Now in its sixth year, the Get into Customer Service’ programme at Alton Towers has now reached a milestone of helping 100 young people gain employment, many of which are now employed at the UK’s biggest theme park in unique and fun roles.

Nineteen-year-old Quentin Teakle, from Rugeley, found out about the course through the Prince’s Trust. He said: “I’ve always wanted to go straight into work and this seemed like a really good opportunity to introduce myself to a working environment.

"My confidence has sky rocketed in just 4 weeks, since I started the course. Everyone has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, really cared for and part of a team.

"Previously I’d studied Animal Care and Performing Arts at college but I wanted to do something else. The course has already helped me gain both professional skills, such as cash handling and customer service, as well as soft skills like confidence and communication, whilst having so much fun.

"During my placement I’ve gained a 100 per cent mystery shop score in retail, which I’m so pleased and happy about as I thought this wasn’t something I was capable of. It has been a massive boost to my confidence.

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"Growing up I moved around a lot which led to me not having a typical education. I also experienced bullying and never really felt settled, I really struggled with my mental health. This opportunity has really made me feel part of a team and I really feel at home here, for once I feel settled.”

Fellow group member Connor Dent, 22, from Stafford, suffers with anxiety and depression and had spent more than two years searching for employment with the job centre.

He said: “I’m not very confident or have any confidence in my ability. Before coming on the course I felt like I couldn’t achieve anything and was useless to my friends and family. Coming on the course was a big deal for me.

"It’s been a tough few weeks but I’ve stuck at it and I owe a lot to this course, it’s helped me come out of my social bubble and break down a lot of barriers. I am a lot more confident and I can see my problems starting to fade. Later this week we will each need to get up and talk in front of around 300 people, which I would never do, but I’ve even actually offered to go first.

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"I’ve gained practical skills, such as working as part of a team, and despite the illness I have everyone has been hugely supportive. The opportunity has allowed me to progress skills I had already had and given me long-term goals.

"Following the course I want to be in full-time employment with the aim of becoming a Team Leader. I have a Level Two Team Leader qualification that I completed whilst job hunting that I know have the confidence to use. Working alongside team leaders here at Alton Towers has given me the chance to see what they do.

"After being in my room for a year I isolated myself and lost friends, I’ve now met new people I’m now able to call friends and be part of a team who all really support each other.”

The Get into Customer Service programme, run by the Alton Towers Resort and The Prince’s Trust, aims to help youngsters from across Staffordshire to gain vital work experience, enhance their CV, and build a range of employability and vocational skills with a household brand.

The Prince’s Trust Get into programme is designed for young people aged 16 to 30 and provides the experience and training needed to move into a job.

Kate McBirnie, learning and development advisor at Alton Towers Resort, said: “This is our sixth year delivering the Get Into programme with The Prince’s Trust, which we are absolutely delighted about. It is such a privilege to meet the candidates, who have often had to overcome adversity or simply not being given their break, and see them flourish.

"It is such an amazing programme for us to be involved with and we are extremely pleased that we are able to help these young people get the experience and skills they need to find employment. A number of employees we have working for us now following their completion of the course in years gone by is testament to what a life-changing and empowering programme this is.

"The Get Into scheme is fantastic and beneficial pathway on so many levels, we are very proud to be part of it.”

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_star

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@expressandstar.co.uk

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