22 April 2024

Mini supermarket staffed by students with disability to open at Griffith TAFE campus

| Oliver Jacques
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Mini Woolies staff

The Mini Woolies concept has been going for six years. Photo: TAFE NSW.

A simulated Mini Woolworths supermarket staffed by students with disability will open at the Griffith TAFE campus in mid-June.

“TAFE NSW Griffith and Woolworths will open a new Mini Woolies site supporting people with disability to gain real-world skills to jump-start a career in the retail industry,” a TAFE spokesman said.

“Working in partnership with Woolworths and Fujitsu, the site will assist students with a disability at TAFE NSW to learn in a simulated retail workplace and build job-ready skills in point of sales, receiving and handling stock, and communicating with customers.”

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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 high schools across Australia since then.

Each mini supermarket replicates the Woolworths experience with baskets for fresh food, supermarket shelves, a fully operational checkout and the green Woolies uniform.

Team members from the two main Griffith Woolworths supermarkets are expected to help with register training and the set-up of the TAFE Griffith store.

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

“Students will work towards completing nationally recognised units from Certificate II in Retail and connect with local employers to support a successful transition to employment,” the TAFE spokesman said.

Woolworths has been under fire over the past year for alleged price gouging, underpaying of employees and replacing human checkout staff with automated self-service machines that force customers to scan and pack their own groceries.

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Its Mini Woolies program seeks to create a more positive public image for Australia’s largest supermarket chain.

“We’re looking forward to opening another Mini Woolies at the TAFE NSW campus in Griffith this June. It’ll be the fifth site we’ve launched with the TAFE NSW team since March last year, with other sites like Shellharbour and Campbelltown now also active,” said Sarah Corey, General Manager of Enterprise Operations and Mini Woolies, Woolworths Group.

“The Loftus campus became a pilot of sorts to trial the Mini Woolies experience in a tertiary education setting. A year on, we’ve heard all about the wonderful success of several students who have used the site as part of their retail qualifications, some even going on to land jobs in the retail industry.

“We can’t wait to bring this experience to the Griffith community and will be working closely with the local team in the lead up to the launch.”

In March 2024, a Mini Woolies was opened at the Shellharbour TAFE NSW campus.

TAFE NSW director of skills in innovative manufacturing, science, robotics and supply chain Daniel Severino said the new training facility would offer more people with disabilities the opportunity to grow their skills and explore a career in the retail industry.

“We know that only 48 per cent of working-age people with disability are employed,” Mr Severino said.

“Skilled retail workers are in high demand, and these state-of-the-art facilities will provide students with the skills and confidence to transition to the workplace.”

Updates on the Mini Woolies can be found on the TAFE NSW Griffith Facebook page.

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