At 22, Alex-Cassandra was uncertain about her future. She’d had a difficult childhood and adolescence and faced some significant challenges. She dreamed of finding a job in the U.K. where she could combine her two passions in life – retail and helping others – but without the right educational and employment opportunities to set her down a career path, she didn’t know where to begin.
Unfortunately, Alex-Cassandra’s struggles are not unique. According to the Office for National Statistics, 800,000 young people (aged 16 to 24) in the U.K. were not employed, in a training program or in school from January to March 2017.* TJX Europe is committed to helping vulnerable young people like Alex-Cassandra achieve their potential. One way we do this is by partnering with The Prince’s Trust, which is dedicated to equipping young people with the skills, tools, training and confidence they need to transform their lives and succeed.
For the last five years, TK Maxx has worked with The Prince’s Trust on The Trust’s Get Into Retail program. Participants in the program learn a wide variety of essential career skills, such as interviewing techniques, CV (resume) writing, and how to apply for a job. Participants benefit from combining classroom-based learning with in-store training alongside an in-store mentor. By the end of 2016, we had completed 42 programs across the U.K., supporting over 600 young people. Further, we offered employment opportunities to over 400 program participants following course completion. This year we are running 15 Get Into Retail programs and are also exploring the possibility of rolling out a program with our Logistics department to engage our fantastic Associates in that function of the business as well.
Alex-Cassandra completed the program and was hired to work at TK Maxx. Excited about her new career path and her new group of friends, she aspires to move into a coaching role and help others succeed.
Many Associates have helped support these programs and helped make them successful while simultaneously transforming the lives of young people.
“You get out what you put in. I really enjoyed it! It’s good to help people who really want to get on in life,” a Store Manager said.
“The Prince’s Trust program is a very good way to recruit people. The program allows us to really get to know prospective employees as individuals first,” said an Assistant Store Manager.
In addition, 2017 marks the second year that Homesense is lending its support to help vulnerable young people by partnering with The Prince’s Trust's newly formed Achieve program. This personal development course is designed for 13- to 19-year-olds across the U.K. and helps them achieve their potential within education. Through several in-store campaigns, money has been raised to support more than 1,500 young people develop skills and confidence needed to engage and succeed. Visit The Prince's Trust website to learn more.
In the U.S., the TJX-run Youth Business Institute (YBI) supports vulnerable young people in their efforts to have greater success in school and the workforce. The 11-week personal and professional development program is designed to provide high school students with basic skills and training for success in the classroom and the retail workplace. Launched in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, the program now partners with 17 high schools spanning 12 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Whether it’s shopping for business attire, or brushing up on interview skills, students are exposed to a wide range of hands-on and classroom-based workshops taught by TJX volunteers and staff from participating schools. The program also fosters students’ career exploration and concludes with a graduation ceremony.
Since 2012, YBI has awarded over $900,000 in scholarships to students, graduated more than 1,300 young people, and hired more than 700 graduates into part-time or full-time positions within the Company.
To learn more about what TJX is doing to support families and children in need, visit the Communities section of our CR website.
By the end of 2016, we had completed 42 Get Into Retail programs across the U.K., supporting over 600 young people.