Over the next six weeks, seven young people are learning the tricks of the trade at Renfrewshire Council’s Retail Academy.

Left to right::  Moroaj Alkenani, Morag Doig (Retail Coordinator), Cllr Mark Macmillan, Amrit Pall, John Docherty, Pauline McAree (Retail Academy Assistant)
Left to right:: Moroaj Alkenani, Morag Doig (Retail Coordinator), Cllr Mark Macmillan, Amrit Pall, John Docherty, Pauline McAree (Retail Academy Assistant)

The Retail Academy is based at the InCube shop in Gilmour Street, Paisley. It offers employer led training which is designed to help young people gain the knowledge, skills, qualifications and experience they need to work in a customer service or retail environment.

The trainees are: Natasha Aitchison, Moroaj Alkenani, Ruth McCallum, John Docherty, Nicole McGregor , Amrit Pall and Kelsey Robin

Trainees initially spend three weeks at the InCube shop where they learn to: deliver high standards of customer service, process till point sales and gain product knowledge and selling skills. They will also take part in merchandising activities and stock control. This is followed by a three week work placement where the trainees demonstrate these skills to potential employers.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said, “We want to make sure that there is a pool of well trained, customer focused staff available for local retailers to choose from. Our trainees will graduate in time for the Christmas rush when many retailers are looking to recruit new employees.

“But our aim is to do far more than just provide extra staff for shops during busy times. The council’s Invest in Renfrewshire initiative has been particularly successful in reducing unemployment amongst young people. Over the last six years we’ve seen a 60% drop in the number of 18 to 24 year olds claiming unemployment benefit.

“The Retail Academy is about giving young people the skills and experience which will be the foundation for long-term employment in retail or a customer service role.

“The InCube shop, itself, is an important part of our drive to regenerate Paisley’s town centre. It is more than just a Retail Academy. It is a real shop, selling high quality goods made by local manufacturers and designers. It is the kind of niche establishment that represents the future for traditional town centres in a time of expanding out-of-town shopping centres.”

Morag Doig, Retail Coordinator, said, “The InCube shop offers a unique live retail trading environment for trainees to learn in. The programme we offer isn’t just classroom-based, it is actual work experience which involves engaging with customers on the shop floor.

“An important part of our programme is helping our trainees break down any barriers that may be holding them back. This includes issues such as a lack of qualifications and limited work experience. At the end of the programme our trainees are talented, job-ready, potential employees with practical shop floor skills and an up to date work history.”

If you are a local retailer and would be interested in offering a work placement to a Retail Academy trainee, please contact Morag Doig, 0141 618 6040 or stop by the InCube Shop, 9b Gilmour Street, Paisley.