Reiko Celebrates Intership at Intu Trafford Centre #RFFManchester

We caught up with Reiko, 17 from Manchester to find out about what he has been up to

Last year Reiko had just finished his GCSE’s at Chorlton High School, but wasn't that bothered about carrying on to college. Reiko’s real passion was playing football, and was something that a career as a professional player was on the horizon. Disaster struck!! Reiko got seriously injured, which put an end to any hopes of a professional career. Reiko describes this as absolutely heart breaking, it was the worst thing imaginable and he was crushed.

He attended #RFF's employability programme run with Hideaway Youth Project and Intu Trafford Centre back in the summer of 2016. The programme consisted of one week based at Hideaway in Moss side, in which the participants gained an accredited qualification in employability, learning skills such as CV writing, public speaking and team work before entering a week long work placement at Intu Trafford Centre. You can find out more about our employability programme here: http://bit.ly/2feOC4A

Reiko explained how he didn't really know what to expect out the programme. It gave him experience of working life, something he had never had before. He hadn't enjoyed school environment but he enjoyed this! The experience made him consider the possibility of applying for an apprenticeship. He took the leap, and applied for the Intu’s Apprenticeship scheme in which he beat of many others to get a place! The fact he had already spent a week there really helped him in the application process, and is good advice if you are looking to apply for something yourself.

Reiko’s apprenticeship started in September last year, and although getting up super early and a long full working day took a bit of getting used to he says that the experience has been great. It has changed his mindset completely, giving him a real confidence boost from his previous ‘I don’t know’ attitude. Reiko has really enjoyed earning (and spending) a wage as well, having to buy a new wardrobe to fit all his new clothes

Reiko’s favourite part of the apprenticeship was when he was the star in a documentary made about Intu Trafford’s count down to Christmas. He got more air time than any other employee, even making up his own code of conduct for when the centre deals with difficult situations! He also likes going on the centre development days where he gets to visit the other centres. The last one he went on was in Derby where he had to give a presentation to the big Intu Managers!! What great experience!

Its amazing to see someone at such a young age have such beaming confidence, you can tell that Reiko loves his work, and the workplace loves Reiko!! Having completed the first year of his apprenticeship, Reiko has got one year left in which he can choose which area to work in. He has chosen to go into Health and Safety, to take him onto a career in an industry that 12 month ago he didn’t even know existed

We asked Reiko if he had any advice for other young people in a similar situation to his, “Think about what you are doing, where is your next decision going to take you. When I started the employability programme I had no idea it would lead me here, keep an open mind and try new things”.

Charlotte Brown, community development manager at intu Trafford Centre, said: “This is the second year intu has worked with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and the Hideaway Youth Project, supporting and helping young people into employment. As a centre, we have assisted with mentoring, employability and skills development training and providing crucial funding. These programmes are incredibly important to intu, not only in supporting the local community but in helping to identify and develop young, emerging leaders for the future of retail. Reiko is just one fantastic example of these ambitious and committed young people – he’s sure to go far within our business.”

We are very proud of Reiko and wish him all the very best in his new working position! Well done Reiko!

RFFManchester would like to thank our partners at Intu Trafford Centre and Hide Away Youth, and our funders The Big Lottery for their support