Ian Winterburn | National Retail

More than a quarter of employed young people aged 15 – 24 work in retail, so the announcement of the youth jobs PaTH program in the budget should provide some encouragement for employees to actively engage young people into work.

However, there has been some controversy surrounding the program, and it is disappointing to see negativity in the media surrounding this initiative. It’s a shame that people are not seeing the program from the perspective of vulnerable young people who are trying to get some assistance and find a job.

At the NRA, we hope both sides of politics realise this program is very much about giving young people a chance to get a foothold in the retail industry. The aim of the PaTH program is to give vulnerable jobseekers, under 25, six weeks of intensive workplace training and up to 12 weeks in a paid internship, which would boost their unemployment payments by $200 a fortnight, making this initiative particularly relevant for retailers who fall into the SBE category.

This measure will only be successful if employers across the board join together to do the right thing, and ensure they use the program in the very best interests of young people.

At the NRA, our in-house trainers run various courses to assist young people in getting a foot in the door of the industry. We have received great feedback from our Certificate II course, which includes general employability skills training, and our Transition to Work program which helps 15-24 year olds gain basic employability skills and work experience.

As a member, you can tap into the Transition to Work program by taking a student on board through work experience – it’s a great opportunity for young people and for retailers, it’s a great avenue for recruitment.

For members looking to brush up on customer service skills, our one day workshops provide a practical opportunity to learn the latest techniques and put newfound skills into practice the very next day. We’ve delivered this course to more than 350 retailers over the last 12 months with excellent feedback for members.

We’re always available to help you and your team learn and upskill, as we continue to innovate and move forward as an industry.

Find out more on the training section of our website, or give us a call on 1800 738 245.