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Retail training program opens new doors for Indigenous Australians


Coles team member Dion Patten at the Coles Aurora Village supermarket in Victoria

Coles conducted five retail training programs for Indigenous job seekers last year at Kalgoorlie and Secret Harbour in Western Australia, Wollongong in New South Wales, Epping North in Victoria and on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Called First Steps, the three week pre-employment training program assists Coles to recruit, train and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members and then provides mentoring for the first six months of their employment.

Since 2011, the First Steps program has resulted in over 700 additional Indigenous team members being employed by Coles across Australia. During this time Coles has increased its Indigenous workforce from 65 to over 2,800 team members. We expect to reach over 3,000 during FY18.  

The First Steps program was developed by Coles and first trialled in Cairns in 2011. During 2017 the program expanded to a remote location, Kalgoorlie, for the first time. It was also the first time all three of Coles' retail brands participated in the program - Coles supermarkets, Liquorland and Coles Express.

The First Steps program is aimed at Indigenous job seekers who have been out of the workforce for some time or who have not previously been employed. All participants who complete the program are provided permanent part-time work.

On the Gold Coast, 10 First Steps graduates joined the newly-developed Pacific Pines supermarket. 

In Wollongong, Coles recruited eight First Steps graduates in March to work at seven Coles supermarkets and a Coles Express.

At Epping’s Aurora Village, Coles employed 10 new Indigenous team members in June via First Steps to work at its new supermarket and Coles Express store.  In addition, a further six Indigenous team members were hired at the new supermarket through general recruitment.

Also in June, at Secret Harbour and Lakelands in Western Australia, Coles recruited 14 new Indigenous team members at two Coles supermarkets, a Liquorland outlet and a Coles Express following a First Steps program.


Tags: People