Shauna Byrne, Courtney Corr, Lauren Byrne, Calum O’Rourke, Nikita Potts
The Athy Retail Skills training programme held an open day last Wednesday, November 7 for local business people, Councillors and TD's to showcase work and take a tour of the training centre.
Based at the Training Centre on Woodstock Street the open day attracted an audience that included local businesses and local elected representatives with visitors warmly welcomed by the Course.
Coordinator Josephine Thackaberry, the assistant coordinator Bernie Crosse and the horticultural tutor Colm O’ Callaghan were also on hand to welcome people on the day.
“I was amazed that many of the shops in Athy do not know we exist, and this is what today is all about, letting the businesses in Athy know that we are a retail skills training centre and we have retail staff waiting for job opportunities” stated Josephine Thackaberry, Coordinator.
Since 2015 the programme has changed direction from Office Skills to Retail Training to take advantage of the emerging demand for Retail Assistants in Athy and the surrounding areas. The course covers training in till operations, window displays, stock control and customer service. It also includes personal development, communications, information technology and teamwork. On the job experience is given with a shop running in the centre during break times. Learners in turns, run the shop themselves in teams of two, working the till, serving customers, ordering and checking stock. They have even prepared an attractive Christmas window display to make the experience true to life.
Mrs. Thackaberry also made a plea for local businesses to provide work experience to the participants:
“The learners are getting a real Retail experience here, but they also need a work placement to complete the course. This year work placement will be for 3 weeks from 1-19 of April. I would ask you to consider taking on our learners for a work placement to give them a real live work experience. When you have a job vacancy, let us know and give our trained retail staff an opportunity to apply. For the success of our course, it is vital that we establish a link with the local businesses and that is what today is all about. Linking together for a great good for us and for your business and for this town, creating employment which will in turn create revenue and sustainability in the town to let this town prosper and grow from strength to strength.”
The course leads to a Major Award in Retail Skills has seen graduates go on to work in Salescesce (Dublin), Mr Price, Lidl, Cents (Athy) and Holland & Barrett (Newbridge).
The Athy training centre has been running Local Training Initiatives since 2002. Over 390 trainees have passed through its doors since the centre opened. It provides training and work experience and help people from the local area prepare for employment. The Programme is operated by County Kildare LEADER Partnership (CKLP) under the sponsorship of Kildare Wicklow Education Training Board (KWETB). The facility is provided by Kildare County Council through the Athy Community Enterprise Company. Thanks to Pat Leogue (CKLP), Sheila Bradley (KWETB) and Helen Dowling for their support over the years.