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19 November 2019 | Community

Expanding our youth development programme

As one of New Zealand’s largest retail groups, we’re clearly passionate about retail and the rewarding careers associated with it. To inspire more Kiwis to learn about and pursue retail careers of their own, we developed the Red Shirts in Schools Gateway programme to offer year 11 to 13 students around Aotearoa the chance to gain credible work experience in a retail environment.

Since the programme’s inception in 2009, the impact has been incredible, with more than 7,700 secondary school students having gone through the training and 75 The Warehouse stores involved.

Given its success, in partnership with ServiceIQ we launched the programme in 21 of our Warehouse Stationery stores in 2015 and created the Noel Leeming Passionate Experts programme in 2019 which is being trialled in 3 Noel Leeming stores, and will be expanded across all stores in 2020. Also in 2020, 3 our Torpedo7 stores will begin their own version, making this experience available in all of our physical retail brands.

“As a Group, we’re all about helping Kiwis live better every day. That comes to life not only through the products we offer, but through our actions in our communities across Aotearoa,” said David Benattar, Chief Sustainability Officer at The Warehouse Group. “Youth employment is a critical issue in New Zealand. This programme enables the country's future workforce to gain credible experience. It gives these young people a step up before entering their careers.”

Over the course of 10 weeks, students in the programme gain 10 days of work experience and up to 23 credits which can be used towards a New Zealand Certificate in Retail.

In addition to the credits, each student also receives customised learning resources and a dedicated coordinator who offers support and guidance through the training.

Though graduates of the programme aren’t obligated to work at The Warehouse, Noel Leeming or Torpedo7 after graduating, for some, it’s a natural fit to continue building their careers through The Group.

Jacob Colligan, who is now a Workflow and Stockflow Specialist at our Store Support Office, began his career with The Warehouse as a RSIS student. “Being involved in the Red Shirts in Schools programme gave me the hands-on experience and qualifications I needed to pursue a career in retail,” said Colligan. “Now that I’m in a central operations role where I work frequently with our in-store teams, those skills I developed on the ground through the course are invaluable. It’s great to see that with the programme expanding, even more students will have the chance to envision a career in retail like I did.”

Learn more about the RSIS programme and ServiceIQ here.

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