Kymberly Martin

Coles supermarket goes to school for children with disabilities

Coles has opened a fully functioning mini supermarket at St Lucy’s School, an independent school in Sydney for students with disabilities from kindergarten to Year 12.  Located on its Wahroonga campus, the shop is designed to provide a guided work experience environment for senior students who will carry out a range of tasks such as stocking shelves and customer service. Junior school students will be able practice shopping for themselves or helping their family on supermarket visits in an authentic and familiar setting.

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School principal David Raphael said it provided a safe environment to teach students about safety in the workplace, “to develop the important skills needed for effective communication, collaboration, and interpersonal relationships in the workplace and beyond.

“It is an opportunity for the students to practice selling in the real sense within the school,” he told F2L. The shop will sell dry goods through a roster system for all classes to access and use.

“We used to have a small school shop that sold a selected range of items on Friday mornings but now we have the Coles shop for the bigger retail experience.”

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Coles chief marketing officer and Coles Accessibility Steering Committee co-chair Lisa Ronson said helping Australians living with disabilities is one of its key priorities. “Coles are committed to increasing the number of Australians we employ who are living with a disability.”

Coles general manager and Accessibility Steering Committee fellow co-chair Martin Smithson said the supermarket is designed to provide students with real life practical skills. “Gainful employment is a pathway to security and autonomy and as one of the country’s largest employers we know we have an important role to play. Coles is always on the lookout for ways we can assist people with disabilities through providing employment opportunities through our partnerships with services like Disability Works Australia,”

Earlier this year, Coles became involved in the $2.43 million RecruitAble pilot scheme in a partnership between Get Skilled Access, founded by Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott and national recruitment agency Randstad Australia.

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