21 June 2024

Kalinda school and Griffith TAFE open Mini-Woolies staffed by students with disabilities

| Oliver Jacques
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Griffith mayor at Mini-Woolies

Griffith mayor Doug Curran at the launch of the new Mini-Woolies at Kalinda School this week. Photo: Kalinda School/Facebook.

Special needs school Kalinda and Griffith TAFE each opened a simulated mini supermarket on Tuesday (18 June).

The two Mini-Woolies stores are designed to help students with disabilities learn how to operate in a retail workplace and build skills for work and life.

The sites simulate the operations of a real-life Woolworths supermarket, with fresh food baskets, grocery shelving, ticketing, signage, Woolworths branded uniforms, and fully operational registers to create an immersive training experience.

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TAFE and Kalinda have partnered with companies Woolworths and Fujitsu (who make the store’s cash registers) to bring the supermarkets to Griffith.

“It’s exciting to offer the Griffith community more accessible and inclusive training options,” TAFE NSW Director of Skills Daniel Severion said.

“The Griffith retail industry makes up over 10 per cent of the local workforce, with sales assistants the third most advertised job in the Riverina.

“These real-world facilities will provide students with the practical skills they need to succeed in the workplace, such as handling stock, talking to customers, and building financial literacy while working towards a nationally recognised qualification.”

Mini-Woolies Griffith staff

The Mini-Woolies at Griffith TAFE is one of 64 across the state. Photo: Supplied.

The opening of the Kalinda Mini-Woolies was attended by Griffith Mayor Doug Curran and Councillor Jenny Ellis.

“A huge thank you to our families and community for your ongoing support and attendance today,” a Kalinda spokeswoman said.

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Kalinda School provides classes for students aged four to 19 with moderate to severe intellectual and physical disabilities. It was opened as Griffith’s first special needs school in the 1970s.

The Mini-Woolies concept was launched in 2018 at St Edmund’s College, in Sydney’s Castle Hill, and has been gradually rolled out in TAFEs and schools across Australia since then.

Using fully operational Fujitsu registers, students learn customer service skills, scan grocery items, handle money and process sales in a comfortable environment.

Sarah Corey, general manager of enterprise operations and Mini-Woolies at Woolworths Group, said the program was set for further growth.

“We’re excited to open a new Mini-Woolies at TAFE NSW’s Griffith campus today, expanding our partnership with the organisation even further after opening three other sites across the state this year,” she said.

“In bringing this new learning space to young people with disabilities in Griffith, we hope that they will enjoy the hands-on learning experience, developing skills they can take into the workforce for the future.”

The new Mini-Woolies sites in Griffith join more than 64 locations in Australia, with Mini-Woolies learning spaces set up at numerous schools and post-school providers to support students from Kindergarten through to tertiary level education.

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