The heart of hiring

The Retail Ready Jobs Program gives employers a new way to hire, without compromising on quality.

For over two years the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have been partnering with Myer’s flagship store in Hobart, Tasmania, to deliver quality training services and job outcomes for candidates struggling to find employment. With excellent customer service being central to the retail experience, hiring the right talent is the first step to achieving this goal.

Representing over 7,500 local and international members in more than 40,000 locations, the ARA’s training department, the Retail Institute, provides retailers with an excellent opportunity to engage with enthusiastic job-seekers within the community, equipping them with valuable skills and work experience through the Retail Ready Jobs Program.

While traditional hiring practices can be time-consuming and costly, with low retention rates and high staff turnover, the seven-week employment program provides Myer with a no-risk, targeted recruitment process, where they are able to select from a pool of suitable candidates, and work with the ARA and Employment Service Providers to deliver high-quality training.

The collaboration between Myer and the ARA has led to the Retail Ready Jobs Program being expanded to suit Myer’s specific needs, as well as to enrich the overall experience of each participant. Supported by a team of program managers, facilitators and senior Myer employees, the training now includes seminars on grooming and presentation, shrinkage and loss-prevention, visual merchandising and sales techniques.

Debra Crump, ARA’s program manager, believes that a close working relationship with Myer has been vital to the success of the program. Of the 12 participants who completed the department store’s most recent program, all have been offered ongoing employment at Myer.

“The participants are immersed in the culture from day one. Each time we run the program that relationship gets stronger,” Ms Crump said.

It’s amazing how much their confidence and self-esteem grows when given the chance to prove what they’re capable of. The program really changes lives. It gives hope for the future.”

James Spencer, a recent participant in the ARA Retail Ready Jobs Program, is one of the candidates who secured a casual position with Myer.

The 22-year-old had struggled to find employment in the retail sector for over a year before he decided to try his luck with the program:

“I was trying to get as much out of is as I could.” James said.

“I saw it as a great opportunity to learn new skills and get my foot in the door.”

James found the program gave him the tools and confidence he needed to excel in a retail setting. After initially feeling intimidated during his first week of work placement, James says he is now thrilled to be given the chance to demonstrate his skills at Australia’s largest department store.

“Myer is the pinnacle of customer service and retail environments in Australia. It was definitely the best starting place I could hope for,” he said.

Kathleen Kelly, the Assistant Store Manager for Myer, Hobart, believes that the program has caused them to re-think the way they hire staff.

“The program opens up more channels that traditionally, we, as a business, wouldn’t always think to access. It’s great to have a wider range of people coming from the community and receiving specific training and coaching that will help up-skill them for the retail environment. We’re not only helping people find employment, but providing them with a rounded work opportunity.”

The ARA’s Retail Ready Jobs program provides an entry level employment pathway for job-seekers into the retail industry. This program is free for all sized retailers, connecting passionate job-seekers with job-active providers and positioning retail as a long-term fulfilling career.

For more information regarding the ARA’s Retail Ready Jobs program please visit https://www.retailreadyjobs.com/

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