Gifts Today magazine

Portmeirion invests in next generation

British tableware brand Portmeiron Group scoops youth employment award

Stoke-on-Trent based homewares company, Portmeirion Group, has become the first company in the country to be presented with an Investment in Young People (IiYP) Award.

The Young Chamber initiative has been set-up to recognise companies across the country that are committed to the development of employability skills in young people, under 25. During 2014, Portmeirion Group has provided no fewer than seven apprenticeship placements and undertaken 15 work experience programmes as part of its commitment to the support of young people in their quest to secure employment. The Group have also delivered several employability workshops at schools and colleges across the local area as well as attended many careers conventions for young people.

Accepting the award on behalf of the company was Ben Foster who has recently completed his engineering apprenticeship with the Group.

On accepting the award Ben said: “I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of Portmeirion Group. I started my apprenticeship with Portmeirion in 2011 and am now a Trainee Engineer. The apprenticeship programme got me into a job that I really enjoy and Portmeirion have supported me every step of the way. I’m now studying a HNC in Engineering that is fully backed by Portmeirion so my confidence is really growing.”

Margaret Beckett, Development Officer at Portmeirion Group also attended the ceremony. She said: “Youth unemployment is one of the biggest social issues facing the UK and needs the intervention of companies like Portmeirion if it is to be tackled. Giving young people the skills and opportunities they need to succeed is important and Portmeirion recognises the value that young people can bring to the workforce. It’s been a real pleasure helping young people transition into the world of work.”

The accolade, which is granted for a period of two years, recognises employers that place considerable and sustained effort in assisting young people into work, providing them with employable skills and preparing them for future employment.

The award was presented to Portmeirion Group by Nora Senior, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, in an awards ceremony, held on Tuesday 3 March at Commerce House, Stoke on Trent.

Tom Nadin, Sector Co-ordinator, at Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Portmeirion Group has been doing some great work around developing employment skills in young people and I think its great news that an employer from the local area is the first in the country to achieve this award.”

To be considered for Investors in Young People status, companies must be able to demonstrate that they are working with local education organisations and engaging in a range of activities that actively help students and pupils gain a better understanding of enterprise and the work environment. As well as its commitment to offering work placement and apprenticeship places, in recent years Portmeirion Group has also attended local careers fairs, supported Young Chamber activities and assisted with school-led work projects.

Sam Pearce, HR Manager at Portmeirion Group, concluded: “The Investors in Young People Award is a wonderful recognition of all the hard work we’ve put in to our youth training programmes and will serve as an excellent wonderful reminder for the entire team to continue to strive to uphold the important values that the award represents.”

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