Swinburne students learn in a mock shop

Monday 20 June 2016

Swinburne's Croydon campus has set up a retail simulator to give its students practical experience

Retail Services students learn real-world skills in a classroom setting.

In summary

  • Mock shop in classroom teaches workplace skills
  • Ambitions students plant their futures
  • Retail partner offers jobs to students

Retail Services students at Swinburne are using security cameras and customer service strategies to learn how to prevent store theft in a new retail simulator at the university’s Croydon campus.

The simulated shop offers students completing the Certificate II in Retail Services within the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) program an opportunity to put their studies into practice before they enter the workplace.

“Kirra Horley, one of our students interested in working in retail fashion, was able to apply her learning and prevent a possible theft by noticing suspicious behaviour by a customer during a recent work placement,” says Retail Services teacher Lorelle Heywood. 

Some students have their eyes on management careers with large retail companies, while others plan to specialise in retail beauty and make-up.

The classroom-based retail simulator includes a fully operational mock shop at one end and desks at the other, allowing students to learn theory and apply it in practice immediately.

“The mock shop provides the ideal environment for visual merchandising of products and for creating on-going promotions, writing off stock and more,” Ms Heywood says. 

Ms Heywood says the students are learning workplace behaviour as well as workplace skills. “They are learning all the skills required for not only getting a job but keeping a job: punctuality, problem solving skills, money skills, literacy and numeracy, communication, teamwork and customer service techniques,” says Ms Heywood.

“Workplace Health and Safety scenarios also have been embedded into the course structure,” says Ms Heywood. “Rather than students learning about OHS in theory, they will be observing and developing strategies to improve workplace safety.”

Stock for the retail simulator was donated by local businesses, including retailer Coles.

A number of the students who have completed work experience at the Myer Eastland store have been offered ongoing employment.