Engaging with the Retailers of the Future
Inspiring One Student, One Teacher, One School at a time

Overview
Families and local community are at the heart of what we do. Our responsibilities extend beyond the walls of our stores. Careers in retail can be rewarding, challenging and exciting. Getting this message out to our countries future workforce is an important one. Understanding how we can equip these children to be ready for a career in retail is just as important. Our relationship with the Barnfield Skills Academy is a mutually beneficial one. As The Entertainer continues to expand nationally the students are completing a viability study for a store opening in Luton; their local shopping centre and community.

Impact
Our main customers are children, so why not involve our main customers in helping shape the future of the business? The impacts have far reaching. The students are growing in confidence, learning business skills and working with people outside of their school environment, developing relationships and gaining exposure to ‘live’ retail. They are also influencing board-level decisions in our business. The business is benefiting by gaining community buy-in and interest before a store has even opened as well as continuing to work towards our vision, Every Childhood Filled With Wonder. We are also inspired by them.

Innovation
The students spent time at their local shopping centre with the MD of The Entertainer learning about the costs involved in opening and running a store and how to buy product. The students measured floor space and fixtures to help design their floor plan. They had the opportunity to ask questions, pitch ideas and learn from a retailer expanding in the face of a double-dip recession. They also purchased sweets to sell at our company-wide conference, learning how to make a profit. Customer surveys, independent research and the MD Q&A session will help them put their viability study together.[/one_half_last]

Insight
As we continue to work with the children and teachers at Barnfield we are always looking at new ways we can inspire the students. Two of our senior Managers are on the Barnfield Advisory Board, one holding the position of Chairman. The Entertainer is also helping with the practical re-design of the school as it continues to focus on the retail sector. The children are providing feedback about their experiences and helping shape the nature of the working relationship. They will also present their feasibility study to the MD and a panel of other interested parties later this year.

Inspiration
We could not have imagined the scope and potential for this working relationship when we first met, now the possibilities seem endless. We are looking at apprenticeship schemes for the student’s post secondary school. We want to develop projects that are curriculum based with defined objectives and real business outcomes. Today’s students are retailers of tomorrow and they never fail to provide insight, a new perspective and challenge the norms. By virtue of being inquisitive and curious we will always explore new ways of reaching our customers and being involved at local community level.[/one_half_last] Speaker
Peta Young
Learning & Development Manager
The Entertainer