Eleven deserving winners of the sixth annual LEARNING SHOP AND RETAIL AWARDS were announced today at Bluewater. The awards acknowledge the contribution made by individuals and organisations throughout Bluewater, championing outstanding guest experience and employment in the local community as well as recognising retailers that have supported The Learning Shop, the on-site recruitment and training facility.

Attendees included The Worshipful Mayor of Dartford, David Mote plus The Learning Shop partners; North Kent College, Department of Work and Pensions as well as retailers and local community groups.

Awards were presented across eleven categories and the winners were:

  • The Learning Shop Community Award: Mothercare
  • The Learning Shop Collaboration Award: Krispy Kreme
  • The Learning Shop Employer of the Year: Next
  • The Learning Shop Outstanding Achievement Awards: Robert Ellis & Joanne Rispin
  • Outstanding Guest Experience – Large Store: Boots
  • Outstanding Guest Experience – Medium Store: Victoria’s Secret
  • Outstanding Guest Experience – Small Store: The Body Shop
  • ‘Stick of Rock’ Experience Award: Watchfinder & Co
  • Outstanding Guest Experience – Restaurant: Tapas Revolution
  • The Spirit of Bluewater Award: Faye Clark (Snow+Rock)

Robert Goodman, Bluewater’s General Manager, commented: “We’re delighted to host The Learning Shop and Retail Awards at Bluewater to recognise the extraordinary contribution made by both companies and individuals. The Learning Shop has helped generate employment for over 50,000 people and trained an excess of 23,000 people since it opened 19 years ago, something we continue to be hugely proud of. In September 2017, The Learning Shop held its sixth Jobs Fair, where 2,000 jobs were showcased just as Dartford saw its lowest rate of unemployment in 20 years. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners; North Kent College, Department of Work and Pensions, our retailers and the wider community to drive further employment in the area.”

Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, added: “The Learning Shop Awards are an important annual event that recognise not just the excellent work of the retailers and restaurants at Bluewater, but the individuals that make them and Bluewater such a special place.  They also highlight how an important asset The Learning Shop is to the community, with its track record for placing people in employment and providing comprehensive training opportunities unrivalled in the UK. I congratulate all of this year’s winners, and would like to thank the team at The Learning Shop and Bluewater for their ongoing commitment to Dartford and the wider area.”

The Learning Shop aims to ensure local people have the best chance to secure jobs at Bluewater and in 2017 the team trained nearly 1,000 people with approximately 700 people moving into work. The Learning Shop works with many local groups including local Job Centres, JSA customers, ESA customers, Kent probation Service, local schools and colleges, MENCAP, Porchlight, Children’s Centre’s and Ellenor Lions Hospice to name just a few, to engage with and assist those most in need.

Alongside David Mote, awards on the day were also presented by:

  • David Wilkinson, Head of Marketing at Bluewater
  • Sue Jameson, Retail Marketing Manager at Bluewater
  • Ben Gay, Training and Facilities Manager at The Learning Shop
  • Nikki Collingwood, Recruitment Manager at The LearningShop
  • Joel Gordon, Employer Advisor at The Learning Shop
  • Alex Lishman, Employer Advisor at The Learning Shop
  • Julie Stirling, Employer Advisor at The Learning Shop