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Putting top trainees in the shop window
YOUNG unemployed people in Witney are being given a chance to showcase their skills with the opening of a new shop.
Abel Market will open its doors tomorrow in Wesley Walk selling a wide range of items including jewellery and clothing, as well as furniture which has been specially made by individuals signed up to the Synolos training organisation which was started last year.
Director Barry Ingleton set up the centre after recognising the growing problem of youth unemployment, particularly among school leavers not in employment, education or training (NEETS).
He said: “The idea of the shop is to act as a window for the potential of young people. The money raised will be put back into helping the training side.
“I am hoping people walking into the shop will be able to see the skills on show that make these youngsters more valuable to employers.”
About 25 per cent of the products on sale in the shop will have been made by the trainees, with the rest sourced through their research and with local suppliers.
And as well as products, services such as photography and picture mounting will also be available.
Brian Overton, 20, signed up to the Synolos training centre five months ago having been unemployed for a long period despite gaining good GCSEs at Bartholomew School, Eynsham Mr Overton, from Witney, said: “I have been training as a carpenter and I really want to continue with it as I will be able to earn qualifications while I am there.
“In the shop I will also be serving customers and it will give me an opportunity to show what I can do. Synolos has opened a lot of doors for me and ultimately I am hoping to make a career out of this.”
Since opening as a community interest company last November, Synolos, based on Corn Street, now has 32 young people on its books.
Most are from the Witney area and there is a long waiting list.
Three full-time members of staff have been taken on by Mr Ingleton, who is also looking to employ one of the trainees on a short-term contract to give them experience of a proper working environment and boost their prospects, while he is also looking to build relationships with local employers.
He added: “It is easier to get a job when you are in a job.
“We are also giving young people an opportunity to know what they want to do with themselves. They may have been doing nothing for two years but the courses give them confidence and show employers they are being active.”