Posts Tagged ‘The Skills Place Newham’

And here at SCEP Towers we’re gearing up to present NEBP’s new menu of offer to schools. As SCEP is part of NEBP’s work related learning offer I’ve been working on presenting a few additional programmes.

We’re incredibly fortunate to have Newham’s Skills Place at Westfield which is entirely devoted to running training connected to the retail industry. They have offered us an opportunity combine one of our courses with a retail certificate and chance to interview for an apprenticeship place.

At NEBP we think this is a great offer to schools and have added to it with an offer of our own to give students a whole day focussed on skills directly needed for the workplace. By providing a complete, ‘joined-up’ programme offering a real step into the workplace we hope schools will be keen to incorporate it into the curriculum for students more suited to this kind of learning.

This is a great example of the kinds of ways NEBP can work with SCEP to produce new curriculum options that could make a real difference to young people in Newham. NEBP’s new Menu of Offer will contain a number of SCEP projects that have become established enough to be offered alongside the more regular programmes.


I spent Friday afternoon focussing on the content of the visual merchandising project currently in development – recently re-named Project:Realisation. I thought ideally it would be great to link in with a major retailer within Westfield and, amazingly, I bumped into the very person I needed to see at the opening of Skills Place Newham a couple of weeks back.

I was on an education / business development course some years ago and met Jane England who worked for John Lewis Partnership. Amazingly she is now working at Westfield and recognised me when we bumped into each other at Skills Place (it’s my hair – probably the only reason to have ‘interesting’ hair is that people remember you!) So that was a lovely chance meeting that enables me now to say that I very much hope John Lewis will be our showcase store for the VM project.

John Lewis at Stratford City
I took the opportunity to look around the store on Friday and, of course, it was brimming with different examples of VM in action. From traditional, very attractively laid out, shelving, to a ceiling installation in various departments with a collection of hanging ‘hands’ holding key merchandise. John Lewis have been in the business for such a long time – and through so many different economic climates – that they really know their shoppers, and what appeals to them.
I’m back in the John Lewis store meeting Jane tomorrow and can’t wait to hear what ideas she’ll add to the mix . . .

Last week I went to the opening of The Skills Place and it was amazing. Located in a very prominent building, right at the entrance to Westfield, The Skills Place offers a wide range of training opportunities related to the retail sector.

Not only is the suite of rooms fabulously designed with training and conference facilities but also offer a replica shop environment, a cafe / coffee bar and a recording studio where hands on experience can be acquired.

The Skills Place Newham

And it’s only when you look a bit closer at the workings of such a vibrant environment like Westfield that you realise the number of different work opportunities there are. Because we also have a number of hotels and a large casino on site the training also covers front of house and gaming training. and for those not interested in the limelight (!) there’s a logistics, warehouse and office skills training too. I’m not sure how they’re going to manage to fit it all in.

As far a s SCEP is concerned, I would love to be able to bring students to The Skills Place to show them, not just a fully functioning retail ‘city’ in action, but also the investment being made in each of the people who work there.

I am very much looking forward to seeing it teeming with people keen to learn and making the most of the opportunities around them.

Major fans will be interested to know that there will be a permanent element of Mary at Westfield Stratford City. Within The Skills Place Newham Mary’s Guide to Successful Retailing will be offering all elements of her amazing course to small and medium businesses. I know it’s amazing because I experienced a course in Visual Merchandising yesterday. At Westfield London in actual fact.

For anyone who doesn’t know Mary Portas – here’s a pic:

She's the one in the middle!

 And you can check her out here: Info about Mary

Before participating in yesterday’s Visual Merchandising (VM) course I had been expecting a hands on experience designing displays and demonstrating placement of goods to show them off to their best advantage. But it really wasn’t much like that at all but, in actual fact, delivered information of depth and breadth way beyond what I was expecting. By the end  I felt I had acquired a comprehensive working knowledge of VM and, wandering back through Westfield on my way home, I even had a few moments of delight glancing into shops to check out my knowledge (anyone who knows me would laugh at this as I am certainly not a great ‘shopper’).

The excellent training was delivered by a lovely lady called Shalina Alabaksh. Shalina was a fantastic communicator and brought so much life and practical experience to the training it was like having a personally tailored conversation with an expert concerned only with my complete understanding. Quite a luxury in training experiences!

Anyway – the upshot being that now not only do I feel I can talk with authority about VM to groups of students, but I also have a number of different elements I can add to my project which should neatly fit into other aspects of the curriculum eg: Maths, Design Technology & Art to name but a few.

Can’t wait to try out this project after half term . . .