Mini Woolies

Supporting young people
with disabilities

Woolworths and Fujitsu have supported the educational experiences of over 5000 young people with disabilities. The Mini Woolies program has now reached the milestone of over 50 sites, providing hands-on learning experiences to school and post school environments.

Challenge

Launched in 2018, the Mini Woolies program was created to provide hands-on learning experiences for young people with disabilities in a safe and comfortable learning environment.

Solution

The program has grown immensely since it commenced in 2018,
expanding to over 50 locations across every state in Australia, as well as Northern Territory and New Zealand
as well.

Outcomes

  • Students learn key skills in an environment where they feel safe and supported
  • Building confidence, independence, and preparedness for the future
  • Experiential exposure to real world environments
I didn’t realize Mini Woolies would grow so big, and we’re looking forward to supporting it even further.

Brad Banducci, CEO and Managing Director, Woolworths Group

5000 students supported over 50+ sites

About the customer

The Mini Woolies program is run by Woolworths Group along with supporting partner Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand. Woolworths Supermarkets (colloquially known in Australia as “Woolies”) is an Australian chain of supermarkets and grocery stores owned by Woolworths Group. Woolworths today is Australia’s biggest supermarket chain.

Enriching the lives of young people with disabilities

In 2018 Woolworths partnered with Fujitsu to launch the Mini Woolies program. The aim was to create an education resource for specialist schools and post school providers by creating an immersive educational experience. Each site is designed to replicate the operations of a Woolworths supermarket.

Using Fujitsu registers, students learn customer service skills, scan grocery items, handle money and process sales in a safe and familiar environment. “It’s just amazing how a small effort to address something as simple to you and I as shopping for yourself could have such a big impact for someone with a disability to go out in life and be more self-reliant,” explains Patrick Misciagna, Technology Director, Woolworths Group and parent of Kiara, one of the first students to go through the program. “It’s a very small effort that leads to a huge outcome. The biggest takeaway I get from parents and from students themselves and from the teachers is that someone cares and someone is helping.”

Celebrating 50 Mini Woolies and counting

“We opened our first Mini Woolies five years ago at St Edmund’s College in Sydney
and we now have over 50 Mini Woolies across Australia,” adds Graeme Beardsell, CEO Fujitsu Asia Pacific. “I am so moved to see how impactful what we’re doing together is on the communities that we serve. It was one of the first things I looked at from a community engagement point of view when I joined Fujitsu, and I’m really delighted to be part of the network of companies that are putting Mini Woolies together and making it available more widely.”

Students not only get to practice real world skills of literacy, numeracy, money handling and register operation, but also build confidence, independence and preparedness for the future. The exposure to real world environments helps provide a pathway into post-school life. By the end of 2023, 4,500 students had worked across 50 sites and 8 post-school providers were integrated into the program.

Continuing to take the program to exciting new places

“The future for Mini Woolies is absolutely endless,” explains Sarah Corey, General
Manager of Operations and Mini Woolies, Woolworths Group. “We still have so many schools with specific purposes and post-school providers who we can provide a Mini Woolies to. It’s about actually what do we do with the students that go through the retail training? What do we do after that? And we’re working on that right now with a focus on job placements, whether it be within Woolies or Fujitsu or anybody else for that matter.”

The work supporting the Mini Woolies initiative with Woolworths recently received the Excellence Award at Fujitsu Global 2023 Sustainability Contribution Awards. The Fujitsu Sustainability Contribution Awards aim to recognize employees and initiatives that are actively contributing to the realization of Fujitsu’s purpose. Fujitsu and Woolworths Group are proud to continue collaborating to deliver technology and innovation to create a society where everyone can participate to their full potential.

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