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Two Woolworths stores open up on special needs school campuses

Split image of children with disabilities working at the new Woolworths specialty stores.
Pick up your kid from school – and your groceries. (Photo: Supplied/Getty)

Australia’s biggest supermarkets are vying hard for your patronage – and it’s not just by slashing the prices of its products.

The two supermarket giants are making moves to demonstrate their social conscience by adding defibrillators to their shelves and hiring 5,500 Indigenous people by 2023.

Woolworths, too, is welcoming a number of new employers to their numbers – but the difference is, they’re special needs students.

Two new miniature Woolworths stores have been set up in Sydney’s St Edmund’s College and St Gabriel’s School, and are staffed by children with disabilities.


St Edmund’s College’s ‘Eddies Fresh Food’ has been open since the beginning of last year, while St Gabriel’s School’s ‘Gabe’s Fresh Food’ opened earlier this month, reports.

The set-up is entirely real: shelves need to be stocked, the payment registers are legitimate.

The aim is to help them prepare for work in a way that’s more engaging than playing with fake registers, where social skills and customer interaction skills are brushed up on.

“Gabe’s Fresh Food is a very special version of a Woolworths store,” Woolworths Group general manager of IT Angelo Clayton said.


“It has real products, real ticketing, signage, uniforms and name badges for the students to immerse themselves in an authentic supermarket experience — a fantastic way to learn a great number of skills.”

The students were “very excited” to have the unique stores on campus, said St Gabriel’s principal Jon Franzin.


“We see use of the payment registers as increasing student’s communication and numeracy skills, skills that are transferable to the workplace and for life,” he said.

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