About Us – The Learning Shop, Bluewater

The Learning Shop is a unique partnership between Bluewater, North Kent College and the Department for Work and Pensions

The Learning Shop is the only centre of its kind in the North Kent region. Established in 1999 and focusing on employability within the local community The Learning Shop delivers a wide range of services; including professional World Class training, development, recruitment and business solutions. We pride ourselves in consistently delivering unique programmes; Retail Knowledge, Retail Skills, Pre-Employment training and World Class Customer Service programmes that result in measurable increased performance for staff at all stages of their careers.

With an established recruitment brand, the Learning Shop is the provider of choice for local people to job search for retail, hospitality and customer service roles at Bluewater. Over 15,000 people visit our online job website each month. Our advisors offer advice and guidance with career aspirations and training opportunities. Our vacancy website is the ONLY official Bluewater job site.

Meet the Team


Ben Gay

Training and Facilities Manager

With Over 15 years’ experience in the retail industry I have managed for companies such as John Lewis and B&Q. In my 6 years with The Learning Shop I have written and delivered bespoke customer service training for organisations such as Bluewater, Ellenor Lions Hospice and The Orchard Theatre. I also wrote The Learning Shops’ market leading distance learning programme for Retail Apprenticeships. Now responsible for The Learning Shop facility and works with managing relationships with its partners and organisations in local communities to achieve The Learning Shops ongoing objectives.


Denise Marsh

Business & Training Advisor
e: denisemarsh@northkent.ac.uk

With over 7 years experience of working alongside partners to help local people gain the employability skills which will eventually help them find sustainable employment.

B 2 B specialist with skills in arranging and delivering training for businesses , charities including the Princes Trust, DWP, and Community Interest Companies, sourcing funding if available.

Previous experience in Catering Management, and Retail.


Janet Moore

Instructor in Retail
e: janetmoore@northkent.ac.uk

As part of The Learning Shop training team Janet, Instructor in Retail, now utilises her managerial and training experience to support learners and unemployed clients into work by providing Pre-Employment training, Visual Merchandising in Modern Retail and other services with The Learning Shop. Having over 15 years’ experience as a Retail Manager and Social Enterprise and Training Manager has given Janet a real insight into the retail industry, staff tutoring and career progression support.


Leonie Chidley

Business Branding and Skills Advisor
e: LeonieChidley@northkent.ac.uk

Working as part of The Learning Shop training team with over 6 years of experience in customer service roles; Including retail, hospitality, wedding Floristry and events coordinating. Now utilising the customer service skills to support learners and unemployed clients into work by providing; C.V writing support and interview technique training. Also responsible for The Learning Shop’s branding and continuously developing the website and social media platforms.


Jenny Wheeler

e: jennywheeler@northkent.ac.uk

Receptionist with over 15 years’ experience working in the Voluntary Sector, with roles that have included Business Management and Community Development. She joined The Learning Shop team in June 2017 whilst also continuing her work with The Learning Shop’s partner, North Kent College, as an Invigilator for their students. Jenny is very passionate about meeting and supporting people; being the first point of contact for The Learning Shop’s partners and customers enables her to do just that.


Laura Swann

Centre Administrator

e: Lauraswann@northkent.ac.uk

An administrator with over 7 years of experience working within the retail and hospitality sector, Laura joined the learning shop team in October 2018. She enjoys utilising her organisational skills to support the team in achieving The Learning Shop’s objectives and supporting learners.


Recruitment Team

Recruitment Manager:  Nikki Collingwood

Recruitment Specialists:  Alex and Julie

Recruitment Support: Mel and Carol

We have over 30 years of experience in bespoke recruitment for Bluewater. We offer a recruitment package to the employers within Bluewater that is free of charge. We deal with over 95% of Bluewater employers and relieve the stress of the recruitment process by managing their vacancies via our modern recruitment methods.

We can upskill potential employees, promote vacancies both online and through social media as well as sift through the vacancies for suitable applicants. We like to go the extra mile and offer our services where possible as well as support staff who are under threat of redundancy.

Please feel free to come up and meet the team to discuss any queries you have.