New year, new careerBY Laura McClennan
The long standing stigma of retail as a job and not a career is well and truly shifting. The previous label of ‘stepping stone for career progression’ is being replaced with ‘respected and worthwhile career choice.' A lot of this can be contributed to the diverse array of education on offer to compliment a career in retail. No longer is retail simply seen as a job to just ‘pay the bills’ while completing further education or whilst between jobs.
2011 data from the then Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) identified retail as a career offered as an entry point into the labour market and is often characterised as a low skill industry. A significant 62 percent of retail employees do not have post-school qualifications, compared to only 37 percent for all industries.
However, structural changes to the industry are creating more specialised roles, particularly in the areas of design and technology, and as a result, management. With these changes, the attractiveness of the industry is increasing and the talent pool is deepening.
Increased access to retail based education is allowing those with a genuine and passionate stance on retail to further their knowledge and pursue personally and financially fulfilling careers. It’s through institutions such as the ARA Retail Institute that individuals who are passionate about retail are given the chance to establish their ideal career.
The ARA Retail Institute is managed by a group of highly qualified and experienced retailers. This management enables the Institute to remain up to date with the needs of the industry and deliver training and support in sync with their client’s requirements. The ARA Retail Institute specialises in consulting and education on a broad range of topics, including retail buying, financials, visual merchandising, marketing, operations, and sales and service strategy.
The ARA Retail Institute offers the following accredited courses:
- Certificate II in Retail Services
- Certificate III in Retail Operations
- Certificate III in Retail Supervision
- Certificate IV in Retail Management
- Diploma of Retail Management
- Diploma of Retail Management (Multichannel)
- Graduate Certificate in Retail Leadership
As careers in retail are beginning to get the recognition they deserve, exceptional individuals who have undertaken training through the ARA Retail Institute are establishing themselves within the industry.
Carmen Apostolatos was an exemplary student who went on to win the Expr3ss! Staff Selection Software Retail Graduate of the Year: Certificate IV at the 2014 eftpos ARA Australian Retail Awards.
Carmen completed her Certificate IV in 2014 to further her retail career. She began volunteering with Oxfam in 2007 and progressively took on more responsibility until being appointed store manager of Broadway Oxfam Shop in September 2012.
The Oxfam Shop gives Carmen the opportunity to combine making a difference to people in marginal communities around the world with her interest in retail. The training Carmen undertook allows her to confidently move forward with her career and apply for more senior management roles.
Carmen’s story illustrates how retail can also couple with a specific interest to allow for a dynamic and progressive career. Few industries have the same breadth and diversity as retail to allow for almost limitless pathways.
Another particularly outstanding graduate of the Certificate IV was Katherine Despea, who overcame personal and workplace hurdles to complete the course ahead of schedule. Throughout her training, Kate was not permitted to use any of her work time to work on assignments or study, however, her trainer Angela met with her at home so that she could continue her qualification.
Through her trainer’s guidance, Kate worked diligently and took on board suggestions to implement in her workplace and apply to assignments. Kate’s commitment to achieving something for her workplace, but also herself, motivated her to complete her training both ahead of schedule and to an exceptional standard. Its graduates like Kate who have the passion and motivation to improve the retail industry in Australia.
The training offered by the ARA Retail Institute equips graduates with the knowledge and tools to progress themselves personally and professionally as well as add value to their organisation.
The knowledge, but just as importantly, the support offered by retail training has established a new wave of future retail leaders with the skills and aptitudes to represent our industry on a global stage. No longer is retail seen as a career that is simply ‘fallen into’ - it is a path pursued just as any other profession, and rightly so. By illustrating a career in retail as a supported and worthwhile occupation, the negative connotation sometimes attached to retail as nothing more than a ‘job’ will be deservedly quashed once and for all.