Reading College trains staff for casino openingBy David Millward
February 27, 2013
Twenty unemployed people will soon be working in Reading’s newest casino thanks to a joint initiative between Reading College and Jobcentre Plus.
Grosvenor Casinos approached the job centre to help find staff for the venue opening in Rose Kiln Lane, South Reading, in March.
Reading College was then approached to train the candidates in the necessary skills through a tailor-made ‘sector-based work academy’.
Lesley Donoghue, principal at Reading College, said she was keen for the college to run more similar courses to help jobless people find employment. She said: “Reading is a thriving town with a great future and a really positive attitude but we do have areas where people are unemployed and it’s a really serious concern for us.
“However, there is more optimism, I would say, in Reading than other areas and a really strong indication of that is the attitude of employers.
“An example of that is Grosvenor, who have taken on these unemployed people.”
The work academies are designed to give pre-employment training, work experience placements and a guaranteed job interview.
The scheme encourages businesses to work together with Jobcentre Plus, colleges and training providers to help those out of work and receiving benefits.
Grosvenor Casinos contacted Jobcentre Plus at the end of 2012 to host an open day showcasing job vacancies. About 100 unemployed people went to the event and 38 were selected by Grosvenor to take part in a training course at Reading College, in King’s Road.
The college worked with the casino to design a six-week course which covered areas such as food hygiene, conflict resolution and how to spot a problem gambler.
Students were also able to take advantage of an agreement the college has with Reed Employment, which offers guidance on how to put the skills learnt into practice and how to tackle job interviews.
Sian Jones, employer adviser at Jobcentre Plus, said: “Through this scheme employers have access to work-ready candidates with the right skills to sustain and grow their business and ensure that any new staff members taken on are tailor-made to be successful.
“Similarly, with skills shortages being a huge stumbling block for many job seekers, this programme is designed to provide all of the necessary training and development for them to perform well and get a good job.”
Ms Donoghue added: “For many job seekers who have been unemployed for a considerable amount of time, there has been a lot of disappointment and loss of self-esteem and self-confidence and therefore the likelihood of gaining employment slips.
“This gives people their confidence and self-esteem back.”