Circle Sports, helping young people into work

Pic: Stephen Archer. Chris Paine, manager of Circle Sports, Dalston

Pic: Stephen Archer. Chris Paine, manager of Circle Sports, Dalston

With 975,000 people aged 16-24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the UK it is welcome news to many in Dalston that Circle Sports has opened a new sports store on Kingsland Road this month.

This is because Circle Sports is not an ordinary sports store but an innovative retail social enterprise that helps 18 -24 year olds into work, by providing a non-academic pathway into employment. Designed to inspire and motivate young people out of unemployment the practical based training includes bespoke coaching and mentoring, alongside retail and entrepreneurial training.

The social enterprise has a proven track record of helping NEET individuals into employment and speaking of the success of the training Chris Paine, the shops new manager said: “We’ve managed to get over 60 young people back into permanent work over the last six years so were making, only a small difference, but certainly making a difference to their lives.”

Chris puts this success down to focusing on the needs and ambitions of trainees from an early stage: “From day one what [we know want they want to achieve] and we tailor the training to that, whether its customer service based training that we do on the actual course, secretarial work, admin etc. We have contacts for that and so on.”

When asked what makes Circle Sports stand out from a normal sports store Chris said: “[What makes Circle Sports different] is when people spend in store they are helping their local community, as this helps fund the training courses and the more training courses we can fund the more young people we can get back into work.”

Circle Sports aim is to continue to grow the business to meet the needs of young people across the capital, who are finding it hard to find employment and Chris said: “Our third store will be opening soon, which will be our online business. At the moment our website is a magazine website but were going online during the summer period.” He added: “[The idea behind the] online business is that it will spread [the word] and give us the funding to open up other stores within the London boroughs. We want to continue doing that and that’s our goal.”

To find out more about Circle Sports visit their website

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Filed under Features, Steven A

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