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A single mother from Swanscombe who until a few years ago was unemployed has been shortlisted for a Retailer Learner of the Year award and will get the chance to meet TV Dragon Theo Paphitis.

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Rickie Strevens, 33, signed up for an 8-week retail training course which led to her securing a full-time position at Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop in Bluewater and she then became store manager within a matter of months.

She has been recognised for her efforts in the prestigious Skillsmart Retail Rising Stars Awards run by trade magazine Retail Week and in September Rickie will head to a star-studded ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair.

Rickie said: “As a single parent most retail positions would not fit around home life but, because of my enthusiasm from the course, I found myself in a position that allowed me to work and care for children in a way I felt comfortable with.”

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