EMPLOYMENT charity Aspire Oxford is today launching a retail training project in partnership with John Lewis & Partners.

The department store chain has worked with Aspire to renovate an area of their building into a retail training space to provide affordable interview clothing for people ready to start work.

The launch takes place from 12pm to 3pm at Aspire’s offices in St Thomas School, Osney Lane, as part of the charity’s open day event.

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Staff from the Oxford store helped to decorate the new space alongside Aspire’s own clients and provided materials for the re-decoration.

The Oxford Times:

The space will be run by Aspire trainees interested in retail opportunities to help them on their journey back into work.

The chain is also providing direct work experience placements for Aspire trainees and have offered placements for Syrian refugees to help them improve their language skills in the workplace.

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Emily Clayton, Aspire’s recruitment adviser, said: "We’re extremely grateful to John Lewis & Partners Oxford for the exceptional support they’ve given to us in helping to launch our new Aspire to Inspire project.

"They are a great example of a local employer leading the way in inclusive recruitment.

"We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership to help many more local people get back into the world of work.”

The Oxford Times:

Julie Blake, John Lewis & Partners Oxford head of branch, said: "The partners and I are proud to be able to support the Aspire to Inspire project.

"Placing Partners and their expertise within the community to support local causes such as Aspire is a fundamental part of the John Lewis Partnership values.

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"We look forward to continuing to work alongside Aspire and welcome their trainees to work experience placements, of which we have hosted over 80 hours so far, helping local disadvantaged people back into the workplace.”