FAIRHILL Shopping Centre in Ballymena was a hive of activity when it opened its doors to 36 local primary school pupils to educate them on the merits of choosing a career in the retail sector.
The initiative entitled Stepping Stones, gave the primary seven pupils from nine different schools, an insight into life at Fairhill Shopping Centre across a variety of sectors including centre management, security, operations and marketing.
They were also given the chance to experience the world of optometry with Specsavers, to learn about retail and recycling with Marks and Spencer and to learn all about geography and the origins of coffee with Starbucks.
Fairhill Shopping Centre Manager, Natalie Jackson, said: “We were delighted to welcome 36 local school pupils to Fairhill Shopping Centre to help educate them about the world of work and in particular, to give them an insight into the potential careers available to them in the retail sector.
“As a Centre that houses some of the most successful retail businesses, we’re always keen to encourage ambitious individuals to join the sector.
“Not only that, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes in terms of ensuring that those businesses are successful like management, marketing and security, which are all essential job roles.
“In a sector that can at times struggle, we want to show the next generation that working in retail is a very viable and rewarding career option that has a wealth of opportunities available within it.
“We hope that all the children who attended enjoyed their experience with us and we hope that by taking part in the initiative, more and more of our young people will be encouraged to join the retail sector in years to come.”
Mr Richard Topping, Principal at Broughshane Primary School, added: “We’re pleased to have been one of nine primary schools invited to take part in the Stepping Stones event by Fairhill Shopping Centre.
“Initiatives like this are so important to help educate and inform our young people on the options that are available to them. Stepping Stones gave our pupils a great taste of various different aspects of the retail sector, many of which can be overlooked occasionally, like for instance, security and marketing.
“Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed their time at Fairhill Shopping Centre and I’d like to extend my thanks to them for hosting such an informative and enjoyable event.”
Primary schools in attendance:
Ballykeel Primary School
Broughshane Primary School
Camphill Primary School
Carniny Primary School
Fourtowns Primary School
St. Colmcille’s Primary School
St. James’ Primary School
St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Primary School
Ballymena Primary School