Recently The Warehouse Group was recognised at the Young at Heart awards winning the Industry Leader Award & Local Youth Employer Award and was recognised as a finalist in the School Engagement and Work Experience Award. The Young at Heart Awards are the Auckland Business Awards that celebrate and recognise businesses commitment to employing young people in Auckland.
The Industry Leader Award recognises our leadership within the retail industry in support of youth employment initiatives, as well as our collaborative work with other businesses to address youth employment. The award also acknowledges our efforts in championing and promoting the retail industry as a successful career choice for young people. Our partners include schools, universities, and the Ministry of Education and through those partnerships, we have been able to support many exciting initiatives. For example, the Bachelor of Retail and Business Management Degree offered by Massey University, the AUT Co-operative Education Programme, and the Sir Stephen Tindall Learning Centre at our Store Support Office.
“We’re so grateful to achieve this award, having been in retail for the past 29 year have personally experienced as well as seen thousands of people thrive in the many exciting and diverse roles there are to offer within retail. I’d particularly like to thank the support and collaboration of others without whom we could not do this on our own.” – Talent Consultant, Debbie Gregory
The Local Youth Employer Award recognises our engagement with local communities to support local youth into local work, and our engagement with growing the employability and community youth pipeline. Earlier this year The Warehouse partnered with the Ministry of Social Development to further develop and roll out our Red Shirts in Community Programme across the Auckland region after a successful 18 months running in other parts of New Zealand. MSD identify potential candidates aged 16-24, and those who meet the criteria have the opportunity to get a three-week experience in one of our stores, receiving training in retail customer service, communication skills, personal presentation, merchandising, and health and safety. Where available, participants can also gain a Customer Service Award and 22 credits at NCEA Level 2 from Service IQ. Of the 250 young people who have participated so far, 70% were able to gain paid employment within three months, and 50 were employed by The Warehouse.
The School Engagement and Work Experience Award recognises our support of work experience for young people as well as our work with local schools to grow the youth recruitment pipeline. In partnership with Service IQ, we engage directly with over 60 schools in the Auckland region to offer in-store work experience in The Warehouse (Red Shirts in Schools) and Warehouse Stationery (Blue Shirts in Schools). Our engagement with local secondary schools began in 2002 when the Red Shirts in Schools programme was launched, designed to bridge the gap between school and work. Since 2014 then, over 3000 Auckland students have participated in the programme. Students complete the programme over a ten-week period during which they attend work one day a week, and are mentored by our experienced and knowledgeable store team members who empower and develop them, teach new skills and expose them to different roles.
At any one time, young people account for 30-35% of our team (depending on the season) meaning their successes are critical to the success of the whole business.
General Manager of Talent, Leadership, and Capability Melissa Crawford said, “Young people add a diversity of thought and bring fresh perspectives to the table. Retail is often viewed as just a part time job, so shifting that perception to the countless career opportunities we have to offer is an ongoing task but The Warehouse Group are leading this change. We are committed to supporting our team to be the best they can be and helping New Zealand to Flourish.”