Newham students told to make the most of new retail opportunities

Newham retail students got first hand business experience from top retail experts to take advantage of the opportunities opening up from new investment in the area.

Based in Stratford, students studying on a vocational retail course at Newham College attended a Retail Enterprise Day to enhance their employability skills.

The day started with the students developing a generic business plan in less than six hours which they pitched at the end of the day to a panel of employers.

Retail student Tom Olukole said: “As a shy person, I have gained social skills today.

“I would now feel confident in the work place because I know how to communicate more freely.”

Tom, who was on the winning team, added: “We have learnt the business side of retail and how to create a product that can solve people’s problems.”

In between, there were a number of workshops to get through on marketing, retail theatre, finance and HR as well as a number of business meetings to conduct with specially invited business experts.

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The teams got to discuss what they learned in the workshops and troubleshoot with retail experts such as Elisabete Furtado, a sales associate at top fashion house Ralph Lauren.

Highlighting the importance of soft skills in the industry, she said: “If you can sell yourself, you can sell anything.

“You need a mix of skills such as the ability to work in a team and communicate effectively to be successful in retail.”

The project was organised by Blue Sky Media as part of the NOCN retail course offered to secondary school students across the borough by the Newham 14 to 19 Partnership in association with Newham College.

Srabantika Dasgupta, from the Newham 14 to 19 team, thought the event was particularly useful for young people in the borough who have more retail opportunities than most.

She said: “With the Olympics and Westfield in Newham and SEETEC’s Skills Place being set up in Stratford City, students can look forward to exciting retail careers in the borough.”