Woolworths has announced it will roll out 25 more mini Woolies supermarkets across every state and territory by June next year, providing a safe and inclusive experience for participants who have learning or development delays with valuable life experiences.
Twelve mini Woolies sites have been established in partnership with local schools, with Clarke Road school in Sydney’s North Shore the latest being launched.
The program partners with local schools for specific purposes and inclusive recruitment specialists such as Omnia Inclusive, with more than one thousand students and candidates going through the program so far.
Each mini supermarket replicates the Woolworths experience with baskets for fresh food, supermarket shelves, a fully operational check out and the iconic Woolies uniform. Team members from local Woolworths supermarkets help with register training and the set up of each store.
Using fully operational Fujitsu registers, students learn customer service skills, scan grocery items, handle money and process sales in a comfortable environment.
Natalie Davis, Managing Director of Woolworths Supermarkets said: “We’ve opened a dozen mini Woolies in the past four years and today we’re proud to commit to a further 25 more. It’s encouraging to hear the positive community response to date from students, candidates, parents, teachers, and principals in our first dozen mini supermarkets. Inclusion plays a significant role within the Woolworths Group and we look forward to expanding the program to every State and Territory in Australia and continuing our partnership with Fujitsu to make this happen, creating better experiences together for a better tomorrow.”
The national expansion of the program was announced at the opening of the newest Mini Woolies at Clarke Road School in Hornsby, catering to students in years K-12 with intellectual and other disabilities.
Graeme Beardsell, Executive Vice President and CEO, Asia Pacific, Fujitsu said: “Fujitsu believes in using technology to create a society where all people can participate to their full potential. We are thrilled to work with Woolworths on the Mini Woolworths program and to have the opportunity and privilege to enrich the lives of students. We look forward to the expansion of the program reaching even more students across the country.”
Clarke Road School in Hornsby has been launched with the help of Woolworths’ state construction team, who created the purpose-built mini supermarket in a storage unit refurbished by the Ku-ring-gai Rotary.
The team re-built accessible pathways into the mini supermarket, re-planted the outdoor fruit and vegetable patch for students to learn the importance of harvesting fresh fruit and vegetables and tidied up the chicken pen.
Clarke Road School Principal Rebecca Saunders said: “The opening of Clarke Road Fresh Food and the building of a mini supermarket on site represents all that we would hope in opening new worlds for our students by: providing a real-world experience of a supermarket in a safe and secure environment, building students’ skills in sorting categorising, communication and independence and using money in a real-life context to purchase goods. The Mini Woolworths shop would enable our students to practice their skills in communication, exchanging money for goods in a secure and known environment before moving out into the wider community.”
Mini Woolworths Ambassador Kiara Misciagna is a recent graduate from St Edmund’s College and during her senior years at the school, she experienced the benefits of the Mini Woolies program. Since then, she’s been employed by her local Woolworths store as a store greeter, assistant within the Deli department and helps replenish stock on shelves, demonstrating the importance of gaining confidence and independence for job-seekers.
The Mini Woolies program has successfully placed candidates from Omnia Inclusive Solutions in work-experience roles in nearby Woolworths supermarkets at Gosford and Albury in NSW and Southport in QLD.
Since the program’s formation in 2018, over one thousand students and candidates have utilised the program built in schools curriculums or used as credit recognition in partnership with TAFE retail certification courses.