The 12-week program assists people who have barriers to employment—for example, a lack of education, mental health issues, a criminal record or other social difficulties. The first nine weeks of the course are spent in the classroom at the College of the North Atlantic, where participants learn retail skills. Most of this learning is practical, covering skills such as operating a cash register and managing inventory, but participants also focus on personal development. Participants spend the remaining three weeks working in a retail setting such as a grocery store or restaurant.
“When I started the retail sales course, I had more problems than solutions, and now I can say I have more solutions than problems,” said graduate Gary Coswell at the ceremony. “My classmates and I learned a lot about retail and ourselves. We are now taking that knowledge and, through our work placements, putting it to work.”
Photo: The most recent graduates of the St. John's, N.L., New Hope Community Centre retail sales program (Photo: Michael Pardy)