The city’s Marks and Spencer store embraced the Norwich for Jobs campaign by offering eight-week work placements to 12 young people - and seven of them are now celebrating being taken on in full-time jobs.
Store manager Mark Robertson described the campaign, launched by city MP Chloe Smith to halve the area’s youth unemployment in two years, as a “win-win for employers and young people”
He said they would be offering more work placements under the Norwich for Jobs banner in August and that said everything about the scheme’s success.
He said: “It has enabled us to give young people further development through training before they come into employment with us. That means they start with better skills.
“We hope our positive experience will encourage other employers to take part.”
Out of the original 12 young people, two had found jobs elsewhere and three had left for other reasons - all those who finished their placement were offered jobs.
The store’s work experience co-ordinator Claire Lefevre said she had been “quite moved” to see the young people’s confidence grow through their training, which covered everything from service and brands to department-specific skills.
Alex Evans, 24, a graduate who had been unemployed for two years prior to his work placement, said: “The constant failure of unsuccessful job applications gets on top of you. Now I am working here I feel liberated. I feel validated as a proper member of society properly contributing.”
Jonathan Chinn, 21, said: “The work placement scheme was perfect for me. I would not have got this job without all that training.”
Ms Smith said: “The success stories that young people have had with their placements through the Norwich For Jobs campaign with Marks and Spencer is really positive.”
Mark and Spencer has now chosen Norwich as one of 27 towns and cities to launch a national youth employability scheme along similar lines. Sixteen young people began work placements this week under the new Make Your Mark scheme.