Employees at online electricals retailer AO are equipping young people with the skills and experience needed to secure quality jobs in the digital sector. The Bolton-based retailer is one of 12 founding partners of FastFutures, a unique development programme designed to increase employability for 18-22 year olds at this critical time.

For the next three months, 11 mentors from across AO will donate their time to offer both support and advice to their assigned young person. As the only North West headquartered employer participating in the programme, AO is providing fresh opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the area, who may struggle to find their feet in a post-Covid job market.

Alongside the mentoring aspect of the programme, the retailer has committed to offering mock interviews with constructive feedback for 50 young people. In the second phase of the programme, AO will also deliver a virtual ‘site visit’ for the participants. Offering an exciting insight into life at AO, the event will introduce the business and focus on how AO uses data across the company.

James Warburton, Learning Specialist at AO and FastFutures mentor, said: “I remember making my first steps into the world of work and it certainly wasn’t easy. The uncertainty of the current job market is only going to add to the challenge of finding your first role. The FastFutures scheme will hopefully make it easier for the young people on the programme and I’m grateful for the opportunity to offer my support.”

Simon Ryan, Director of Operations at AO (Mobile) and Fast Futures mentor, said: “I signed up as a mentor because I believe it is important to recognise how lucky we are to be in a position to support young people. The programme will really help the participants gain the best possible skills that organisations want and set them up for a positive start on their employment journey.”

Vic Rodgers, Chief People Officer at AO, said: “I’m so pleased that AO is taking a leading role in the FastFutures programme and helping to create opportunities for the young people who need them the most. Digital and business skills are more vital than ever in the current working climate and we’re proud to offer a helping hand on the employment ladder.”

The mentoring scheme compliments AO’s wider recruitment campaign, as the retailer has created 650 new roles to manage sustained increase in demand for products. Following the programme, AO hope to consider the FastFutures participants for live vacancies at the company.

Following the huge number of applications for the scheme, FastFutures are already planning for the second cohort and AO will continue to support the programme. Find out more at: https://www.avadolearning.com/fastfutures/