Woolworths has strengthened its commitment to provide young Australians with special needs with an even better future by opening 25 mini-supermarkets in schools across Australia.
The retail group first launched its Mini Woolies program in 2018 with Fujitsu and continued to build small Woolworths stores in 12 student schools and inclusive recruitment centers with additional needs.
Now Woolworths has announced that it will open 25 more specialty supermarkets in all states and territories by June next year, providing a safe and inclusive experience for people who are late in education or development with valuable life experiences.
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The program works with local schools for specific purposes and specialists in inclusive recruitment, with more than 1,000 students and candidates passing through the program so far.
Each mini supermarket replicates the Woolworths experience with fresh food baskets, supermarket shelves, a fully functional cash register and original Woolies uniforms.
Team members from local Woolworths supermarkets are on hand to help you with registration training and setting up each store.
With Fujitsu’s fully functional registries, students learn customer service skills, scan groceries, handle money, and process sales in a comfortable environment.
Woolworths supermarket executive director Natalie Davis said the company was proud to expand the initiative.
“We have opened a dozen mini Woolies in the last four years and today we are proud to be able to commit to another 25,” she said.
“It is encouraging to hear the positive response from the community so far from students, candidates, parents, teachers and principals in our first dozen mini-supermarkets.
“Inclusion plays an important role within the Woolworths Group and we look forward to expanding the program to all states and territories in Australia and continuing our partnership with Fujitsu to achieve this and work together to create a better experience for a better tomorrow.”
Graeme Beardsell, Executive Vice President and CEO, Asia Pacific, Fujitsu added: “Fujitsu believes in using technology to create a society where all people can engage to their full potential.
“We are excited to work with Woolworths on the Mini Woolworths program and to have the opportunity and privilege to enrich students’ lives. We look forward to expanding the program to reach even more students across the country. ”
The announcement coincides with this year’s opening of the latest Mini Woolies at Clarke Road School in Sydney’s Hornsby, which caters for K-12 students with mental and other disabilities.
The new site was created with the help of the state construction team Woolworths, which assembled a purpose-built mini supermarket in the storage unit of the renovated rotary Ku-ring-gai.
The team rebuilt accessible roads to the mini-supermarket, replanted an outdoor fruit and vegetable bed to teach students the importance of harvesting fresh fruit and vegetables, and tidy up the chicken coop.
“Opening Clarke Road Fresh Food and building a mini supermarket on site is all we would hope to open up new worlds for our students: providing a real supermarket experience in a safe and secure environment, building students’ skills in categorization, communication and independence and using money in a real context to buy goods, ”said Rebecca Saunders, director of Clarke Road School.
“The Mini Woolworths store would allow our students to practice their communication skills, exchanging money for goods in a safe and familiar environment before moving out to the wider community.
“I would like to thank the Woolworths and Fujitsu for their dedication over the past two months as they have refreshed our shed, fruit and vegetable bed and chicken coop in an inclusive and stimulating environment where students can come together, succeed and prosper.”
Mini Woolworths Ambassador Kiara Misciagna is a recent graduate of St Edmund’s College, which was home to the first Mini Woolies.
She has experienced the benefits of the Mini Woolies program in recent years at the school – and now works at her local Woolworths as a welcoming shop worker, Deli assistant and supply manager.
The Mini Woolies program has successfully placed Omnia Inclusive Solutions candidates for work experience at nearby Woolworths supermarkets in Gosford and Albury in NSW and Southport in Queensland.
If the School for a Specific Purpose (SSP) is interested in more information, please visit here and send an e-mail to [email protected]
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