A CONCEPT involving a shop run by young people is growing.
Synolos, in Wesley Walk, Witney, has reopened after an extensive refurbishment that will allow the training organisation to provide more working opportunities for jobless youngsters.
Founder and owner Barry Ingleton said: “The unique retail training experience created by Synolos has been a huge benefit to the students and the business, allowing equipment and tutors to be available on all programmes.
“The plan now is to expand this concept to more young people, to get Synolos known around the community for all it has to offer both in education and retail.”
The shop was opened in 2012 as a branch of the Synolos Youth Training Centre in Corn Street, which gives people aged over 16 a chance of running businesses.
Young people choose the products, which include fashion items, household products, gardening equipment and photography services. Bespoke items are manufactured in store.
Profits are used to fund the educational programme and the shop has also raised awareness of the scheme.
The refurbishment has created a new kid’s corner, photography studio and T-shirt printing service, as well as a new colour scheme and furniture.
Mr Ingleton said the lack of space previously meant only two people could work in the shop, but this could now be trebled.
He said: “This will help those who are unemployed at the moment who need work experience on their CV to look attractive to employers.”
Witney resident Kayleigh Vickers, 24, studies art, design and photography at the training centre and has been tasked with promoting the shop’s reopening.
She said: “To go into employment you need to have some experience behind you before you get the job, but unfortunately you can’t get the experience without a job.
“It’s certainly something that will benefit the students and interacting with customers is the main thing. It builds a lot of confidence because a lot of kids can be very shy and don’t know exactly how to interact with the people who come in.
“It also gives a stable working environment when you don’t feel under so much pressure.
“If you were employed by someone and struggled with interacting with people you could ultimately lose your job, but at Synolos they nurture you so when you go out into the big, wide world you’ve got that experience behind you.”
Meanwhile, Synolo has been nominated as a finalist in the charities and communities category of this year’s West Oxfordshire Business Awards.
The students have also been tasked with designing the finalists’ trophy for the awards.