The Beginning of a New Career at Oxfam

Islington’s one of the London boroughs with the most charities and volunteering opportunities for young people. Now an Oxfam store in Angel is offering the chance for talented people to gain experience in management and merchandising. It can be the first step to a brilliant career in the retail industry. Jessica Fino reports.

An Oxfam store in Islington is giving young people the opportunity to gain management and merchandising experience, while enhancing their CV’s and preparing them for the real world.

The charity shop, one of the oldest in the Islington area, invests in young people to bring a more dynamic spirit to the store and attract more people to the volunteering sector.

The new project, created by store manager Nelly Dixon, is a way for people to develop their customer service and management skills and learn how to work in a bigger team.

Young volunteers will get full training and support and according to Carol, one of the volunteers, it’s a rewarding experience raising money for such a good cause.

 

Young volunteers in the Oxfam store in Islington. Photo: Oxfam

Young volunteers in the Oxfam store in Islington. Photo: Oxfam

 

“My whole life is about offering help to others and it gives me a buzz to know that what I do here can make a difference to somebody I might never meet somewhere else in the world,” she says in the Here To Islington scheme website, which is supporting Oxfam.

Here To Islington, a community project that supports people starting their own projects or helping out in existent ones, is assisting Oxfam to recruit people to the Angel store. Katherine Horsham is the Here To movement manager and she’s happy to be helping Oxfam.

On the Here To website there are two separate projects from the Oxfam store available: the management training and the merchandising one. People interested can arrange a meeting with the store manager Nelly or with the deputy manager Mariella.

Thanks to the global charity Oxfam, 4.3 million people were reached by health promotion activities, 700,000 people benefit from support to improve their crops, goods and services and 2.6 million people benefit from improved sanitation facilities.

“We are delight with the contribution young people are giving to our local shops,” says sn Oxfam spokesperson. “Without them we would not be as successful as we are. Oxfam local shops are one of our biggest strengths.”

The store counts with more than five young volunteers every day, who display the items, price them, serve the customers and work with social media to get more people involved.

The volunteers also get the opportunity to manage the online store the charity’s creating. Through the Oxfam website, people are able to buy charity clothes as easily as they shop on the high street.

The training will help young people to develop their retail and merchandising skills. Young people will have the skills needed to apply for high streets shops as they will have the skills of window-dressing, pricing and customer service.

In the future, the youths can find a paid job in the merchandising world. The salaries may range from £14,500 to £50,000 or more.

Young Londoners interested in the opportunity will need to have a good eye for fashion and attention to details, be creative and be thankful to everyone who comes in with donations. They will also be asked to research different display ideas.

The charity offers reasonable lunch and travel expenses.

If you are interested in getting involved, you can get in touch with the store manager by sending an email to oxfamshopf8048@oxfam.org.uk or visiting the store. The store is located at 29 Islington High Street. The nearest tube station is Angel.

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