Free courses now available to hone retail skills

Free courses are available through TAFE NSW to help fill a skills shortage in the retail sector as the Central Coast recovers economically after long months of COVID-19 restrictions.

There are currently more than 4,000 job vacancies in the NSW retail sector, accounting for a 10 to 20 per cent shortage of workers.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, Geoff Lee, said more than 3,500 fee-free training places were on offer in NSW, across 40 different short courses to prepare for the busy Christmas retail period and more places will be added based on demand.

The courses are available through TAFE NSW and other registered training providers for workers to learn specialist customer service and retail operation skills.

Free retail short courses include: Statement of Attainment in Retail – Point of Sale, Handle Stock and Identify/Respond to Security Risks; Statement of Attainment in Retail – Visual Merchandising, Plan a Career in the Retail Industry, Advise on Products & Services, Work in a Team; Statement of Attainment in Retail Customer Service; Manage Disrespectful, Aggressive or Abusive Customers;

Food Safety Supervision; Licence to Operate a Forklift and Manual Handling.

Minister Lee said retail employed more than one-in-10 workers.

“It’s our second largest employer and a hugely important part of the job market,” he said.

“Training opportunities like this are so valuable, filling labour gaps and giving jobseekers the opportunity of a bright future in retail.”

Australian Retailers Association CEO, Paul Zahra, said Christmas was the busiest time of year in retail and businesses were on the hunt for extra staff to cope with the increased demand.

“Staff shortages are a significant concern for the retail industry as businesses ramp up their operations after the lockdown and in the lead up to the busy Christmas trading period,” he said.

“We’re yet to see the return of international students and skilled migrants, so filling all the vacant positions is proving to be an immense challenge.

“We appreciate and support the efforts of the NSW Government in their targeted campaign to address the retail staff shortfall.

“There’s a number of retail specific courses that are fully subsidised and are a quick and easy way for people of all ages to get the training they need to join the industry or to upskill in other areas.”

The free training will be funded under the joint State and Federal JobTrainer program, which has already seen more than 143,000 enrolments since it was announced in October last year.

To explore other fee-free retail courses available to study, visit:

Sue Murray

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