Bolton’s newly-opened cinema has recruited almost two thirds of its staff through a pioneering scheme to get local people back into work.
Nineteen of the 30 new employees at the Light Cinema at Market Place Shopping Centre have been taken on through the Team Bolton Partnership - a collaboration of work and skills providers who work together to help get local people into employment.
Bolton Council, Bolton College and Job Centre Plus, part of Team Bolton, worked closely with the Light Cinema as part of the recruitment process.
Team Bolton and Light Cinema arranged an open day for unemployed residents. This was followed by a three day pre-employment training course to help the job seekers get the skills they needed to work in the cinema.
Twenty four candidates were then offered interviews and 19 were then offered jobs at the cinema.
The majority of the employees are customer service assistants. Of the 19, two have progressed to supervisor roles, and other members of staff have been promoted to projectionist and barista roles.
Ainsley Battel was one young man taken on in the recruitment drive. He said that he had been “in and out of jobs and never really felt settled anywhere”.
He had been out of work for about three months - but realised he “had to get my act together” as his girlfriend was pregnant.
Ainsley, aged 24, from Astley Bridge, said: “The process allowed us time to bond and grow as a team before starting work, and from there this has shown in work.
“We have a great working environment and everybody gets along. The Open Day and training allowed my confidence to build getting to know what my employer expected from me and them to know what I was like before we started work.
“Although the course wasn't job specific it offered transferable skills and knowledge that could and would be needed in employment.”
Ainsley, who has now been promoted to supervisor, said: “If it wasn't for this opportunity I can honestly say I wouldn't know where my life would be right now. It has been a bit of a blessing.”
All 30 of the new recruits, apart from the cinema manager, have been taken from the local jobs market.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, said: “We are committed to improving the economic prospects for all in the borough. Team Bolton is an example of how partnership working across different organisations can help improve the skills and employment opportunities of our local residents.
“Local people who were out of work are now employed in a fantastic new cinema in the heart of the newly redeveloped Market Place and so it is a win-win situation for everyone. We are delighted to work closely with partners to help facilitate such a life-changing outcome for local people.”
The Team Bolton partnership, established in 2013, works with more than 400 local employers to help to improve local people’s skills and secure a job for them.
Other partners include Bolton at Home, the University of Bolton, the Work-Based Learning Provider Network and Welfare to Work Providers.