Business

Lidl and NOW Group launch new Retail Skills Academy to support people with learning difficulties

L-R: Sean Hanna, NOW Group; Conor Boyle, Lidl; and NOW Group ambassadors Tara Andrews and Matthew Gray.
L-R: Sean Hanna, NOW Group; Conor Boyle, Lidl; and NOW Group ambassadors Tara Andrews and Matthew Gray. L-R: Sean Hanna, NOW Group; Conor Boyle, Lidl; and NOW Group ambassadors Tara Andrews and Matthew Gray.

SUPERMARKET chain Lidl has announced a new partnership with social enterprise NOW Group to support people with learning difficulties and autism into a retail career.

The new Retail Skills Academy will see NOW Group participants placed in ‘host’ stores across the north, offering opportunities to learn new skills and on-the-job training with Lidl.

It’s the latest dedicated skills academy launched by the NOW Group.

In the past five years, the social enterprise has set up academies around tourism, catering hospitality, cleaning, digital, warehousing, and business administration.

The latest initiative combines 15 weeks of classroom learning with in-store retail placements of up to 40 hours.

Participants will graduate with a level one award in retail business from the Open College Network Northern Ireland, equivalent to a GCSE-level qualification

Sean Hanna, Director of Services at NOW Group said that alongside learning new skills, the retail academy encourages dependence, resilience and enhances employment opportunities.

“Our dedicated skills academies are focused on providing our participants with training into jobs of the future, so we’re delighted to partner with a company which, as market leader, truly represents a dynamic industry with huge potential in terms of life-long careers and opportunity.”

Lidl’s managing director in the north, Conor Boyle, said the company has placed accessibility and diversity at the heart of its strategy.

“We continually strive to create an exceptional place to work and to build a suite of industry-leading career development opportunities, and the new Retail Skills Academy further demonstrates our commitment to enabling equal employment opportunities for all.”