Henshaws College shortlisted for a Natspec Award

We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for a Natspec award for our partnership working with Harrogate Fair Trade Shop.

The Natspec awards

The Natspec Awards aim to recognise and celebrate excellent practice in the specialist further education sector. This year, we have been shortlisted alongside Linkage College and Heart of Birmingham Vocational College for the Partnership Working award.

Our partnership with Harrogate Fair Trade Shop

Henshaws and the Harrogate Fair Trade Shop have held a successful and mutually beneficial partnership for almost five years. Our students have played a vital role in volunteering within the shop, interacting with customers, processing orders and stocking shop items, and developing their skills within the workplace and the local community.

Due to the pandemic, the shop had to close at short notice. With our commitment to our students and work placement providers, innovation had to be at the forefront of future partnership working.

Moving the shop online

Pre-Christmas is the busiest time for retail, and in the spirit of Henshaws, we wanted to continue to help the Harrogate Fair Trade Shop at this crucial time. But how? An e-commerce platform was set up, a website designed and a delivery plan implemented, ready for students to become involved in the project.

Stock from the shop moved to be stored on campus, and with support from the Employability team, students could access the e-commerce platform to prepare orders ready for collection by fair trade shop volunteers. Student’s responsibilities included producing catalogue information to upload products onto the e-commerce platform, using stock images from manufacturers to display on the website, organising stock and ensuring the delivery receipts with postage information were attached to relevant orders.    

‘Business not as usual’

As COVID-19 saw the closure of non-essential shops, we joined forces to build an online presence to drive our partnership forward. Shop volunteers were able to continue their duties with a delivery service covering the Harrogate and Knaresborough area, and we’re proud to say the online shop actually resulted in greater sales during the Christmas period! Supporting each other meant sharing a pool of talent and enthusiastic potential. Individuals who are motivated to seek work experience, progression and potential employment, from a diverse range of backgrounds, can have a profound positive impact on business. 

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