Employment Plus and ARA connect eager job seekers with retail employers

Australian Retail Association (ARA) members can now secure focused, enthusiastic and better trained employees by tapping into the national resources of Employment Plus.

Following a series of trials and much fine-tuning, the ARA and Employment Plus have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide retail organisations with eager job seekers who have been specifically selected and trained for their relevant retail sector.

The program has already gained a number of happy clients, including Office Works on the Gold Coast.

Initially engaging in the process late last year, Office Works employed six job-ready candidates. The program, which was tailored for Office Works, was judged to be so successful the company quickly organised to repeat it at the start of this year, and has just accepted a further 15 job-seekers who have completed training and are now trialing on the job.

Discussions are now underway with major National Retailers such as Target and Big W, just to name a few.

“Working with the ARA, we’ve developed a very strategic, very integrated process to find people who want to work in retail as a career and then provide them with the classroom and in-store training they need to be able to hit the ground running,” said Kim Rokoloa, the Employment Plus Business Development Manager who has played a key role in developing the system.

“Importantly, the training can be fine-tuned to suit the employer’s needs.”

The system, which can be accessed by any ARA member across the country, focuses on what the employer requires and is designed to be seamless.

Employment Plus, after liaising with the potential employer, conducts a series of pre-screening interviews of its own registered job-seekers to identify those who are highly suited to the roles in question.

The selected job-seekers are then screened again by the potential employer before being offered the training which involves eight accredited units from Certificate 2 courses in Retail and Food Handling. This training is provided by the ARA’s own training arm, Retail Training Institute. The training also includes work placements which take place in sites where vacancies already exist or are expected.

“From our trials we know that by this stage we have job candidates who can’t wait to start and who have a host of specific skills,” Kim said. “Exactly what retail employers are looking for.”

Garry Terrill, the ARA’s Director of Training and Consulting has been closely involved throughout the development process.

“We have worked with Employment Plus for a long time on an ad-hoc basis. What we have done now is created a more strategic, more long-term process which our members can take advantage of.

“The retail sector requires a highly skilled workforce and our new understanding with Employment Plus will help identify and develop the best candidates in a seamless process which lifts a lot of the burden off employers,” Garry said.

“This new arrangement ticks a lot of boxes for businesses in the retail sector, and I’m sure a lot of our members are going to take advantage of it.”