Sheffield’s city centre windows are in full bloom thanks to a team of apprentices at Sheffield Showcase.
Launched in 2009, Sheffield Showcase is a scheme established in partnership between Sheffield City Council, Yorkshire Forward and The Source Skills Academy. The scheme uses empty shop units in Sheffield City Centre to display the wares of local artists, designers and retailers, improving the shopping environment and helping to promote local businesses.
The scheme employs a team of apprentices who design the window displays and also work in the charity shop, First in Best Dressed, which raises money for local charities including St Luke’s Hospice, The Children’s Hospital Charity and brainstrust.
Sheffield Showcase currently has nine window displays in the city centre on Pinstone Street, Cambridge Street and Furnival Gate and since the launch, over 800 businesses have engaged in the scheme with 100% of them reporting an increase in profile.
The scheme gives the apprentices, usually aged between 16-18, the opportunity to develop their visual merchandising skills and use their creativity to produce engaging displays which will best promote the businesses’ products or services.
After completing the course, the apprentices often go onto pursue careers in retail and visual merchandising and have even gone on to managerial positions. Matthew Webster, 23, first became an apprentice at Sheffield Showcase in 2010 and after a career in the visual merchandising team at Sports Direct, he is now the Store Manager at No. 26 The Makers Emporium on Rotherham High Street and manages two apprentices himself.
Matthew said ““Without the amazing help I’ve received from The Source I wouldn’t be where I am today. The Source helped me build a solid foundation for a brighter future. I honestly can’t thank them enough”.
David Webber, Manager at Sheffield Showcase and First in Best Dressed said “It’s great to see our apprentices move on into employment once they finish their apprenticeships. We work with some fantastic young people here and it’s a pleasure to watch them grow throughout the course and become ready for the world of work”.
If you would like to display your products or if you have an idea for one of the windows please contact David Webber by calling 0114 2728094 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The charity shop relies on donations of clothing, accessories, homewares, toys, bric-abrac, books and DVDs and there are several options for dropping off your unwanted items. You can drop them into the shop on Cambridge Street, Sheffield or at any of The Source’s locations; opposite Meadowhall Centre at 300 Meadowhall Way, in Sheffield city centre at 2 Surrey Place or in Rotherham at 15 High Street.