The Woolworths mini store at Our Lady of La Vang School in Flinders Park mimics the operations of an actual supermarket, with baskets for fresh food, shelving for groceries, ticketing, signage and uniforms the students can wear to create a fully immersive experience.
Using fully operational registers, students also learn to scan grocery items, handle and process sales.
La Vang Fresh Food, as the students have named their new store, has been made possible through a partnership with Woolworths and Fujitsu, with team members from the nearby Fulham Gardens Woolworths supermarket helping students to stock shelves and providing training to operate a register.
In welcoming guests and students to the opening of the store this week, Our Lady of La Vang principal Stephanie Grant said it would make a “magnificent difference” to the young people at the school, both now and into the future.
“We believe this is such an innovation and something really special, and it’s been created by something that Mother Teresa talks about, ‘that together we do great things’,” she said.
“We try to educate our students to be part of the community in which they live.
“What we can do with the mini Woolworths La Vang Fresh Foods is provide opportunities for literacy, numeracy, communication skills and the ability to think about pathways now and into the future… the 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.
“We anticipate it will promote teamwork, interpersonal skills and independence skills.”
For some students, as they learn more about the retail industry it may 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 of our 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,” Ms Grant said.
Woolworths Group Technology director Laurence Bennett said the store was 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,” he said.
Clare Burden, head of Industry & Retail, Fujitsu Australia Limited said the company was “incredibly proud” of the impact its 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 in Australia and the first to open in South Australia.
Special guests at the opening of the mini supermarket on May 11 included Charles Sturt mayor, Angela Evans; Catholic Education SA director, Dr Neil McGoran; deputy chairperson, Jo Coonan and chairperson, John Favretto, from the Catholic Special Schools Board; deputy director, National Catholic Education Commission, Sally Egan; together with several representatives from Woolworths and Fujitsu.
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