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'Pop-up' shop opens in London to prepare unemployed young people for careers in retail

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A ‘pop-up’ shop has opened in London, employing 20 unemployed people, in a bid to prepare them for careers in retail.

The initiative was launched by First Friday, the retail training and consultancy company.

The Pop-Up Shop Project is a training initiative allowing 20 unemployed young adults from the Walworth Road area in South East London, to launch and manage their very own 'pop-up' retail outlet. They will sell products that are locally sourced to showcase local craftwork as well as fashion items printed with their own designs. The Pop-Up shop opens for its first day of trading today.

The Pop-Up Shop Project, spearheaded by Creation Trust in association with Southwark Council, encourages local unemployed youths around the ages of 16 - 24, to become more business minded and entrepreneurial.

The project recruited directly from candidates in the Walworth area of South East London, with the aim of attracting young adults with an interest in working in the retail industry. The trainees embarked on a four week training programme, spanning the decision-making process of setting up and running a retail store; from the branding of the shop to buying stock, negotiating with suppliers, selecting premises, visual merchandising and running the store. Today's store opening marks the culmination of their specialist retail training, and now these young entrepreneurs will go on to manage the store for a period of three weeks.

In addition to the valuable experience of running their own store, the participants will receive an accreditation to illustrate the skills they have developed and demonstrated during the programme, which will improve their prospects of gaining work in retail.

This programme required trainers from the retail industry to ensure its credibility to possible future employers, and make certain that candidates received the best possible opportunity to excel. This prompted Creation Trust to select First Friday to mentor the group throughout the four week training programme and during the pop-up shop trading period. First Friday's retail credentials were key in ensuring that the expert content and guidance for this project was delivered to the candidates.

Michaela Weller, consultant with First Friday, said: "For today's school leavers, retail can be an inspirational place to train and to work. Our work at First Friday shows us that successful retailers rely on well trained people at every level of the organisation, from the shop floor to the boardroom. At First Friday we are extending our existing commitment to the retail industry and investing in the 16-24 age-group to improve their understanding of retail as a career and to give them the confidence to go for it! In partnership with local authorities we are training young people in how to work in a retail business or indeed, run one for themselves."

After the initial four week training period, the programme culminates with this week's launch of the pop-up store which will operate for a further three weeks on E-street market.