In a warmly welcomed move, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has launched a retail development programme to help unemployed people find job opportunities in the retail sector.
It was launched this week by Skillnet, the learning and development division of ICOS. The society represents over 130 co-operatives in Ireland – including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts.
The key aim of the programme is to reduce barriers to entry into retail for currently unemployed people by improving their skills and capabilities in advance of making a job application. Participants were recruited to the programme by ICOS Skillnet in conjunction with the Department of Social Protection.
Billy Goodburn of ICOS Skillnet said, “The retail grocery sector in Ireland is continuing to grow with many new employment opportunities now available. The retail sector is very diverse and interesting and anyone entering the industry has a wide range of areas to choose from”.
“Retail employers are also very tuned in to further skills development needs and they provide great opportunities for further training and onward career progression. This important programme which will help people get back to work where retail provides a rewarding and enjoyable career path in a sector which is vibrant and continuing to grow with many job opportunities. We’re initially targeting up to 20 new jobs for course participants,” he added.
Participants in the programme will undergo 7 days of training and development, spread out over a 3 week period, augmented by online learning and followed by a 5 day work experience placement in retail.
Areas covered by the course include merchandising, stock control, retail promotion and food hygiene including the HACCP food safety system. Participants will also gain knowledge of customer service skills, communications and elements of consumer law and the final part of the programme will focus on CV preparation and interview skills. They will then have continuing access over a 12 month period to a number of online learning resources to support them in their career progression.