Stoke-on-Trent based housewares supplier Portmeirion Group has become the first company in the country to be presented with an Investment in Young People (IiYP) Award.
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.
To be considered for IiYP 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.
Last year Portmeirion Group provided seven apprenticeship placements and undertook 15 work experience programmes. It also delivered several employability workshops at local schools and colleges and attended several careers conventions.
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 it’s great news that an employer from the local area is the first in the country to achieve this award.”
The award was presented to Portmeirion Group by Nora Senior, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, in a ceremony held on March 3 at Commerce House in Stoke-on-Trent.
Accepting the award on behalf of the company was Ben Foster who has recently completed his engineering apprenticeship with the Group. He said: “I’m 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, added: “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.”
Sam Pearce, HR manager at Portmeirion Group, concluded: “The IiYP 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.”