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Next to recruit 1,000 jobless youngsters as retail apprentices
Sep '11
As a part of its innovative apprenticeship scheme, the UK-based high-street fashion retailing chain Next will provide around 1,000 young people a chance to pursue a career in retail industry.

The firm has already began the process to hire 500 youngsters, and is likely to raise this number to two-fold if it meets adequate number of right candidates for the job.

It is for the first time that the retail chain has introduced such a scheme. It will make the Government happy, as it has been trying to increase the number of such schemes in the country.

Lord Simon Wolfson, Chief Executive of Next, stated that the coalition Government has reserved a sum of £500 million to help about one million young population of Neets (Not in education, employment or training) in the UK.

He stated that it is a very considerate step on the part of the Government and added that it is now the turn of the private sector to properly implement the scheme.

He said that it would become possible to assess the success of the scheme only after a period of six months, as the performance of the people engaged as apprentice could be assessed then.

The main aim behind the initiative is to acquaint people really well in their jobs and it is expected that those recruited would choose to pursue a career in retailing sector, but it would be too early to say anything at this stage, he said.

Next started working on the idea of apprenticeship scheme in November last year in association with Pera Training, which had earlier assisted Jaguar Land Rover on a similar apprentice scheme project.

Presently, though the standard apprentice wage prevails at £2.50 per hour, Next would overall pay a sum higher than this.

The retailer's programme is being undertaken under the aegis of the National Apprenticeship Service and would impart NVQ Level 2 apprenticeship training to newly recruited Neets, who would stand eligible for a bonus on successful completion of apprenticeship.

Next's boss said that the firm is also considering recruiting apprentices for distribution and warehousing operations in future.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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