Wednesday, March 11, 2015

News: Sweet success for Rotherham retail apprentice at national awards

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An apprentice who went from Saturday girl to managing her own store in little over a year has won a prestigious award from People 1st, the skills and workforce development charity.

Jenna, who lives in Rotherham, won the Retail Intermediate Apprentice Award at an awards ceremony held in The House of Commons after being nominated by her tutor Jayne Wills at The Source Skills Academy.

Jenna 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.

The People 1st charity is for employers in the hospitality, tourism, leisure, travel, passenger transport and retail industries. The judges were representatives from across the industries and included Lloyd Thomas from The Co-operative. The judges said: "Jenna has had great success within a small shop environment. She has been promoted and has grown as an exceptional professional and is a worthy winner of this award."

Jenna said "It was so exciting to receive my award at the House of Commons. I hadn't been to London before so it made a great day out and we enjoyed seeing the sights. I was so surprised to hear my name called out and I can’t wait to put the trophy somewhere where all our customers can see."

Kara Chapman, owner of the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop, added: "We're so proud of Jenna and she thoroughly deserves this award. Jenna is a valued 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 is a fantastic accolade for her."

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.

Whistle Stop Sweet Shop website
The Source website

Images: The Source

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