21-year-old Christie is employed at Marketing Blackpool through Blackpool Council’s Positive Steps Programme, delivered in partnership with public service provider A4e.
Initially Christie was employed in a short term role to enable him to gain experience working in an office, but when he revealed he had a flair for art his talents were soon put to work and he was tasked with creating VisitBlackpool’s Resort Pass mascot Rocky.
And in the summer Rocky the Resort Pass was unveiled as the Destination Management Organisation’s new mascot.
Marketing Blackpool Tourism Manager Mandy Tythe-McCallum said: “When we first took Christie on we wanted to give him an opportunity to grow his skills and gain confidence.
“We work in a very busy environment and no two days are ever the same so it seemed the perfect chance for him to gain the required skills to seek future employment.
“It soon became apparent, however, that Christie is a brilliant artist and after he showed us some work he’d done in his own time we asked him to use his amazing talent to create our new mascot.
“The only brief Christie was given was that it was to promote the newly launched Blackpool Resort Pass and eventually he came up with the fantastic mascot that is now Rocky the Resort Pass.”
Rocky the Resort Pass was officially unveiled at the 2013 Blackpool Mascot Games but he will also be used at functions and events across Blackpool.
Christie added: “I’m really enjoying working for Marketing Blackpool and my work is very varied from helping out in the office to meeting visitors and working in the Tourist Information Centre.
“But to be asked to design the official mascot was brilliant and to actually see it as this real thing is pretty amazing.
“I don’t know many people who can say they’ve designed and created one of Blackpool’s official mascots!”
Positive Steps into Work and A4e deliver The Work Programme in Blackpool, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. This supports the long term unemployed back into work by providing opportunities, training, funding, interview clothes, travel costs and support in breaking down barriers back into work.
The scheme enables employers to access The Youth Contract Wage Incentive funding by employing an 18-24yr old from the programme – a contribution of roughly 50% of the salary costs for the first 6 months.
Employment Team Manager Vanda de Freitas added: “It is really pleasing when we see people working with the Positive Steps team doing so well. Christie has clearly made some very positive steps at Marketing Blackpool which will hopefully help him in the future.”
Christie and the Resort Pass Mascot