TAFE NSW Richmond has worked with Platforms Youth Services to provide homeless people and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with the retail skills they need to seek employment.
Completing a five-week Statement of Attainment Introduction to Retail Industry course, the ten students learnt a range of skills to help them gain employment in the retail industry.
TAFE NSW research forecasts 1,959 job openings for retail managers in the Western Sydney region between 2017 and 2020.
Throughout the program, students learnt how to engage with customers, work effectively as a team member, advise customers on products and services and visual merchandising.
Kyle Brown, one of the students to complete the program said, "I really enjoyed the TAFE NSW course, it was something different and fun, and it taught me things that will help me get a job in the future."
"My favourite part of the program was when we learnt how to visual merchandise. Our TAFE NSW teacher, Sharon, brought in all these different items and taught us how to set them up like you would if they were displayed in a shopping centre," he said.
Delivered onsite at the Platform Youth Services' office, a location that is familiar and comfortable for the students, the course saw students learn the theory and practical elements of retail services and spend time visiting Westfield Penrith. These visits allowed the students to experience the retail industry first hand, drawing inspiration for visual merchandising and seeing how the skills they were learning worked in practice.
Platform Youth Services Manager, Emma Jordan said the program was established to provide a soft entry point for the young people to engage with TAFE NSW courses in a space they felt comfortable.
"This also meant that they could take advantage of the already established supports in place with Platform," she said.
"Being able to access the short Introduction to Retail course provides opportunities, and this opportunity saw a group of young people successfully complete the course, which acts as a stepping stone to further education or employment.
"I can see that these young people have the potential to achieve many great things and this is just the first step towards that future."