Ready for Retail – Training for Excellence

Background

One of the biggest sector employers in Haliburton County is retail. Retailers in the County attempt to hire hundreds of staff annually, often with limited success. Ready for Retail will focus on helping trainees gain retail sales skills, and will help to move individuals who have difficulty working to employable individuals with the skills and confidence needed to succeed as an employee.

Ready for Retail will provide on-the-job retail training for 8-12 unemployed or underemployed adults. There are some unique key elements that ensure its success:

1. A gratitude platform/philosophy that underpins all aspects of the training
2. Partnering with Thrift Warehouse and TPS Haliburton Holdings (an 8,000 sq. ft. retail business in Haliburton that is managed by SIRCH) to take over the store on a day it is typically closed, opening to the public, and letting the trainees experience all aspects of daily operation
3. Promoting meaningful ongoing interaction between the trainees and the public.

Training

Training will embody a strengths-based approach and will incorporate gratitude as the philosophy underpinning the program. In the model, 12 trainees (who are screened at intake) will attend classes 2-3 days per week for 16 weeks.

• Week 1 & 2 (2 weeks) SAIL training (Supportive Approaches for Innovative Learning) to promote competency, self-care and teamwork.

• Weeks 3-6 (4 weeks) In-class training on retail skills and customer service, plus individual strengths assessments. The John Howard Society Literacy Outreach program will provide the bulk of the retail training.

• Weeks 7-8 (2 weeks) On site experiential training one day at Thrift Warehouse when it is closed to the public, and one day in class.

• Weeks 9-16 (8 weeks) Open Thrift Warehouse on a day it is typically closed and serve the public, with trainees involved in all aspects of the operation; one day in class to debrief, prepare, and cover other training topics.

• Post training follow up and coaching of graduates.

Via classroom and on-site experience, trainees will learn:

• Team-building
• Communication skills
• Gratitude and positivity
• Workplace safety
• Common retail policies and procedures
• Policies and protocols pertaining to SIRCH and Thrift Warehouse
• Sensitivity training
• Exemplary customer relations
• The origin of thrift stores and Thrift Warehouse
• Accepting donations and what to turn down
• How to sort – what to keep and what to recycle
• How to recycle (metal, plastic, paper, what’s accepted in the dump, etc.)
• Managing inventory
• Store appearance
• Stock and product displays
• Pricing
• How to use the cash register and POS machine
• Marketing and sales
• Upcycling and up selling.

From March to mid-May, we will open the Thrift Warehouse on a day it is typically closed. Two seasoned staff from Thrift Warehouse will provide coaching and oversight, but the trainees will operate the Warehouse. During this time, we will engage the public in helping us, providing trainees with real experiences. We want customers to feel a vested interest in the trainees’ success, and will have ways for them to comment and offer suggestions.

Trainees will not only get on-the-job training and employability skills, but they will also gain exposure to potential employers who will be coming into the store to shop. Local retail employers will address the class, or visit Thrift Warehouse on the days it is operated by trainees so see them in action. Trainees will be finished by the Victoria Day weekend when businesses typically get busy.

Trainee Profiles

Week 1 Activity Co-ordinator – Mar 13, 2018 (St Patrick’s Day)

Week 7 Activity Co-ordinator – Apr 24, 2018 (Live Auction)

Week 2 Activity Co-ordinator – Mar 20, 2018 (Spring has sprung!)

Week 6 Activity Co-ordinator – Apr 17, 2018 (Fun and Games)

Week 3 Activity Co-ordinator – Mar 27, 2018 (Easter Egg Hunt)

Week 4 Activity Co-ordinator – Apr 3, 2018 (Fabulous ’50s)
with help from Sadie Lissemore

Week 8 Activity Co-ordinator – May 1, 2018 (Fill a Basket)

Week 5 Activity Co-ordinator – Apr 10, 2018 (Las Vegas North)

Our thanks to Kawartha Credit Union for their generous donation towards the Ready for Retail program in Bancroft. (Gena Robertson, Executive Director, SIRCH and Tina Ducet, Branch Manager, Kawartha Credit Union)