Tuesday, February 24, 2015

News: Rotherham retail apprentice shortlisted for national award

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An apprentice who went from Saturday girl to managing her own store in little over a year is at the House of Commons this week, nominated for a national award.

Jenna Unwin, who lives in Rotherham, started her apprenticeship in September 2013 at the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop in the Imperial Buildings in Rotherham town centre.

Opened in 2010 selling sweets and sweet gifts, the sweet boutique expanded to larger neighbouring premises in 2013 to allow for the development of its Temperance Bar - selling traditional non-alcoholic sarsaparilla and cordials along with other fruit and sweet-based drinks.

Halfway through 17-year-old Jenna's training in Level 2 Retail Skills Diploma; Kara and Tony Chapman, the owners of the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop, were so impressed that they began to discuss the possibility of her managing her own store. In June 2014, they began to plan the new store and found the ideal location in the entrance to Orchard Square in Sheffield City Centre with Jenna involved every step of the way.

The new store opened in October when Jenna was promoted to store manager. And now she manages her own apprentice.

Jenna has now been shortlisted for a prestigious award from People 1st; the skills and workforce development charity for employers in the hospitality, tourism, leisure, travel, passenger transport and retail industries after being nominated by her tutor Jayne Wills at The Source Skills Academy.

Based at Meadowhall, The Source Skills Academy is a flagship centre providing state of the art training and development facilities with a focus on the retail and service sector. A Rotherham base opened on the High Street in 2011 with support from Rotherham Council and the Skills Funding Agency.

Keen to continue expanding on her knowledge, Jenna is hoping to study for a Level 3 Retail Management qualification with The Source to improve her strength as a manager.

Jayne Wills, tutor at The Source Skills Academy, said: "Jenna continuously astounds me with her knowledge and enthusiasm for retail. Jenna's maturity is so refreshing; she is a very caring person and she really looks after her staff. She is a very bright young woman and I look forward to following her career as I know she will go far."

Jenna Unwin, manager of the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop in Sheffield, said: "I was so excited when I received the email saying I'd been nominated and was invited to The House of Commons. I'm really enjoying my role at the new store and this news is the icing on the cake."

Kara Chapman, owner of the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop, added: "We're so proud of Jenna and she thoroughly deserves this award. Jenna is such a valuable member of the team - if Jenna sets her mind on achieving something; there is no stopping her. I'm sure she has a great career ahead of her and this award would be a fantastic accolade."

Whistle Stop Sweet Shop website
The Source website

Images: The Source

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