THE DIARY: All bets on for a job

Sheffield's casino school run by Genting''7 June 2012'Image � Paul David Drabble
Sheffield's casino school run by Genting''7 June 2012'Image � Paul David Drabble
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IT is a school unlike any other set up in Sheffield - and you can bet your bottom dollar on that.

The equipment? Six roulette and poker tables, hundreds of chips and more cards than even Paul Daniels would know what to do with.

The students? Twenty-two trainees - former professionals, graduates, school-leavers and unemployed - dressed like they’re auditioning for a role in a James Bond evening scene.

Welcome, reader, to casino class.

Here, in an anonymous Arundel Street office, those 22 - along with another 50 successful applicants currently being sifted through - will spend the summer learning how to be croupiers.

On the syllabus, there’s maths (“knowing your timetables is key”), customer relations and how to throw a roulette ball so it doesn’t go flying off the wheel.

“What we’re teaching is how to be a games assistant, sure,” says course-leader Mark Ross. “But these are vital skills in any customer-facing job. We’re training future casino managers.”

The course, then, has been created by Genting, the UK’s largest casino operator, ahead of the company opening its first Sheffield venue in September.

The monster 35,000 square feet gambling centre - based under the Cheesegrater Car Park in Charles Street - will employ more than 150 people. And about 75 of those will be croupiers.

Hence, the creation of this eight-week summer school.

“It’s not an easy process,” says Jo Kinder, casino manager. “Firstly the applicants need to impress in an interview. We’re looking for vibrant people who can interact with customers.

“If they are successful, we then put them on this eight week course, where, we teach everything about working in a casino. It’s 32 hours a week and we set homework so it requires commitment, although it is fully paid. Then, they will be seconded to our venues across the country for up to 12 weeks of work experience before they return to Sheffield for the casino opening.”

Phew.

Games being taught include American roulette, three card poker and blackjack.

But knowing the rules is just the start. Croupiers must also have a shade of showbiz and a slip of steel about them.

“Going to a casino is a theatrical experience,” says Mark, director of new openings with Genting. “Croupiers need to have that bit of flair. They also need to be friendly but firm.”

And the rewards for being good? Plenty, it seems.

“You have the chance to be a future manager,” says Mark. “This is how I started when I was 18. I never looked back and I’ve been working my way up since. It’s a great job. Well paid, flexible, fun.”

Anna Ryding agrees. She’s one of those first 22 students.

The 24-year-old, of Woodseats, took her own gamble - by leaving a steady receptionist job for the career change.

“I was looking for something different,” she says. “And you don’t get more different than this.”

For application details visit www.gentingclubsheffield.co.uk/recruitment