BTEC Extended Diploma in Business Year 2 students visited the Intu Trafford Centre to prepare them for ‘ Industry Week’ which is being held at the College week commencing 7th March and during which they will be out on work placements, quite a few of which are in the retail sector.

They are currently studying ‘Understanding Retailing’ and ‘Internet Marketing’ units and the visit gave them the opportunity to research more about the largest shopping centre in Europe which opened in 1998. The Trafford Centre occupies a former wasteland site of 300 acres in the Dumplington district on the outskirts of Trafford Park.

During a talk by customer service staff at the Centre the students learnt that this out-of-town shopping centre took 27 months to build, cost £600 million to complete and has parking spaces for 10,000 cars and 300 coaches. Students recently had to research customer service at four different retail stores and present their ideas as part of their assignment for the ‘Understanding Retailing’ unit and the talk gave them further material on how customer service is delivered at the Trafford Centre. The Centre is on high security alert at present but students were reassured during a tour of security control at the Centre just how tight security is at the present time and that they were in safe hands! They were then able to explore the 1 million square feet of shopping space with 200 stores and experience for themselves good and bad customer service in the various retail outlets.

Course Tutors, Carole Uske and Alex Stevens, commented that although many of the students had visited the Trafford Centre before they were now more aware about the format and location of different stores and how Intu had developed a ‘click and collect’ service due to the expansion of online shopping which they have been learning about in ‘Internet Marketing’. The visit was invaluable in emphasising the importance of employability skills such as teamwork and customer service which they will have the opportunity of practising for themselves in the workplace next week.

When asked about the trip, student George Horner had this to say, “I found the entire day really interesting, especially when looking at the security deck, it was fascinating, slightly intimidating but reassuring that the Intu Trafford Centre monitors your every move, as this can help prevent anything from happening, due to everyone being closely monitored all the time.” In addition to this, George added, “I also found the talk we had interesting as it gave us an insight into how the Trafford Centre is run on a day-to-day business, as well as what plans the Trafford Centre has for the future.”