Get Yo’ Life – a program run by Ontario-based non-profit One Voice One Team, Youth Leadership development Organization, which teaches young adults how to build a strong work ethic – will partner with retailu to offer internships with leading Canadian retailers
(MONTREAL, Quebec) — NEWS: The current state of retail vacancies is alarming – the industry at large is facing a massive gap in part-time workers. “We have never seen this many openings for part-time workers,” said April Sabral from retailu. “Even more alarming is the pool of candidates that want to work in retail post COVID. Usually, we would have students applying for their summer jobs, but unfortunately, this has not happened in 2021.”
Why is this happening, and what can we do about it?
Sabral, Founder of retailu shared her thoughts, “Mental health has been seriously affected in our youth throughout the past year; virtual school, no sporting events, and a lack of routine has caused significant problems – Also, fear of catching covid and passing it along to aging parents has weighed on this population. These may be a few reasons that our normal retail first-time workers are not out there eagerly looking for a PT retail job.”
If youth mental health has been affected, this may have directly impacted their confidence to go out into the workforce and pass out resumes like before.
In addition, most retailers have not yet adopted an easier way to find candidates as the youth of today’s communication does not match the tech of sending in a resume and completing a lengthy application online. This process is archaic at best.
Something has to be done said Sabral. This is where retailu, in partnership with One Voice One Team, have stepped up to solve this pressing problem.
Orlando Bowen, Founder of a charitable youth leadership development organization, said we felt it was paramount that we created something where youth were able to see possibilities and develop skills that will allow them to succeed in work and life, while offering retailers the opportunity to fill employment gaps within their companies.
One Voice One Team, a nonprofit organization, has been running programs for nearly two decades. Get Yo’ Life is a program that focuses on helping students learn how to become employable and keep a job. When April Sabral, founder of retailu, met the team from OVOT late in 2020, she knew there had to be something they could do together to help youth gain their first job in a retail store.
Bowen, founder of OVOT, shared that youth who complete the “Get Yo’ Life” program will walk away with valuable key principles like resiliency skills, prioritization skills and authentic leadership skills that will not just position them to secure an internship, but it will also position them to find success in developing a clear career path in life.
Sabral is an advocate for retail being a great career, and shares her story of how she started as a PT sales associate after high school, “It was an easy job to get, and one that I learned life skills in” in her book ‘The Positive Effect” and after 25 years of leading in retailers like Banana Republic, Starbucks, Apple and finally as the Vice President of DAVIDsTEA a loved tea shop in Canada she is an advocate for retail being a real career. “I never thought it would be, but after traveling the world and working for mega brands, I can tell you that retail is an amazing career.”
Retailu has partnered with OVOT to create the only retail training program for young people to get their first job in the retail industry. The Get Yo’ Life program, along with a retailu “How to ACE your first retail job and keep it,” is an opportunity for retailers to sponsor kids through the program and offer them an internship at the other side, helping the retailer find their potential workforce.
The retailu program features retail industry leaders, such as Ron Thurston, former VP of Intermix; Solange Strom, former CEO and Founder of L’Occitane in Canada; Meghan Houle, Executive recruiter and Darlene Huf, Former Country manager for a brand like David’s Bridal and Disney who offer solid advice to these youth through a masterclass style online on-demand course.
The first retailer to get involved in sponsoring a Get Yo’ Life retail internship is Ardene, a North American fast fashion brand with over 300 stores across Canada and the East Coast US.
In addition to its head-to-toe offering of apparel, footwear and accessories for women and men, Ardene’s corporate culture has become known for its impressive mental health advocacy in recent years. In 2018, in the days before COVID, Ardene launched its first mindfulness program for stores in partnership with Brain Spa, an innovative organization that seeks to bring mindfulness-based leadership to the workplace. The program, called “Mindful Moments” has since grown significantly to include a suite of mental health and mindfulness trainings companywide, in partnership with the likes of LifeWorks and others. Most recently, the company named its Head of People and Culture, Fil D’Urbano, as Chief Mindfulness Officer, and is a 2021 nominee for the Retail Council of Canada’s Excellence in Retailing Award for its Mindfulness programs.
“With 40 years of experience in the retail market, Ardene is no stranger to evolving alongside and supporting young people,” said an Ardene representative. “But with so many changes brought on by COVID, and with rising mental health issues, we know that more needs to be done.”
The first cohort of approximately 45 youth in Ontario is being sponsored through the Get Yo’ Life program now, and once completed, selected participants will be offered a chance at an internship at an Ardene store. “We have partnered with OVOT and retailu on the Get Yo’ Life program because we have always had a culture of giving back. Helping build life skills such as goal setting, adaptability, mindfulness, and gratitude are all aligned with our values, and we are proud to support the OVOT team and retailu as they make this a reality for young people across Canada.”
These youth are so excited and can’t wait to start their potential first job with Ardene, a well-loved brand by this demographic. Together retailu, OVOT and Ardene are paving the way for what could be a way to empower youth, fill vacancies, and help a pressing issue that seems to have hit retail post COVID.
Retailers interested in sponsoring this program should get in touch with retailu at email@example.com
LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Program details retailu: retailu.ca/youth-employement-program/
OVOT link: onevoiceoneteam.org/
MEDIA ONLY CONTACT:
Editorial note: the ‘retailu’ brand name is all lower case.
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Related link: www.retailu.ca/
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