Woolworths launches SA’s first mini supermarket today to help students with specific needs

A new miniature Woolworths supermarket opened today at Our Lady of La Vang School in Flinders Park, aimed at assisting students with specific needs.

In a state first, a new miniature Woolworths supermarket opens today at Our Lady of La Vang School in Flinders Park, aimed at supporting the education of students with an intellectual disability, autism and a range of specific needs with hands-on learning experiences.

The mini store has been established to mimic the operations of an actual Woolworths supermarket, with baskets for fresh food, shelving for groceries, ticketing, signage and Woolworths branded uniforms the students can wear to create a fully immersive experience. Using fully operational Fujitsu registers, students learn to scan grocery items, handle and process sales.

Our Lady of La Vang takes pride in providing tailored education for students with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities ranging from Reception to Year 13, educating over 60 students. La Vang Fresh Food, as the students have named their new mini Woolworths store, was brought to life over the Easter school holidays through a partnership with Woolworths and Fujitsu.

Woolworths team members from the nearby Fulham Gardens supermarket have been helping students stock shelves and provide register training in readiness for opening.

“Our new Mini Woolies store will provide our students with opportunities to learn new skills in a safe and familiar environment and practice them in a real-life situation. Skills we hope to develop are shelf stacking, stock rotation, online ordering, using a cash register, communication and customer service,” said Our Lady of La Vang School Principal, Stephanie Grant.

“We anticipate it will promote teamwork, interpersonal skills and independence skills. The students will learn more about the retail industry and for some, this can become a possibility within a post-school pathway. It will also enable some students who find the complexity of transitioning to a bus and then to a supermarket very challenging the opportunity of a shopping experience.

“As many classes have a cooking program, we can see that the Mini Woolies Store will enable them to plan, shop, cook, eat and clean up – mirroring activities that they can participate within their community.”

Woolworths Group Technology Director Laurence Bennett said: “We’re really proud of our new mini supermarket at Our Lady of La Vang as our first South Australian school and the opportunities it will create for students.

“This is a great example of our commitment to create better experiences together for a better tomorrow. The skills students will learn in their new mini Woolworths supermarket will equip them with confidence and knowledge of retail operations in an exciting way, with an upfront understanding and familiarity when they enter the workforce.

“Having seen the success of our previous Mini Woolworths stores with students employed as Woolworths team members, we look forward to seeing how the students gain independence and the skills from La Vang Fresh Food.”

Clare Burden, Head of Industry & Retail, Fujitsu Australia Limited said: “Fujitsu is excited to partner with Woolworths on the mini Woolworths store initiative and expand the opportunities we can offer students here in South Australia. We are incredibly proud of the impact our technology and support is making on young lives as well as their parents and educators.”

The new mini Woolworths at Our Lady of La Vang is the 10th mini-supermarket of its kind, with similar Woolworths shopping experiences created recently at Mater Dei School, St Edmund’s School and William Rose School in NSW and Black Mountain School in ACT.

Last month, Omnia Fresh Food launched in Southport, QLD as the second Mini Woolworths site in an adult inclusive recruitment specialist centre in partnership with Omnia Inclusive Solutions.

Mini Woolworths Ambassador Kiara Misciagna is a recent graduate from St Edmund’s College in Sydney and during her senior years at St Edmund’s, she experienced the full effects of the Mini Woolworths program.

Since then, she’s been employed by her local Woolworths store as a store greeter, assistant within the Deli department and helps replenish stock on shelves, demonstrating the importance of gaining confidence and independence for job-seekers.

Woolworths and Fujitsu are working to roll out more new sites this year and aim to educate thousands of students and candidates across schools and inclusive recruitment centres through the program.

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