Youth Retail Graduates Ready for the Next Step

On August 19, twenty-one newly-certified Retail Associates graduated from New Circles’ youth retail skills program after seven weeks of learning and more than 45 hours of work experience in GLOW.

As the program comes to a close, two of the LIST students have already secured part-time employment and several more are actively searching for jobs.

16 year-old Kuralay Zhaksylyk, a LIST graduate who attends Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and has numerous community service and volunteer experiences, believes the program provided her with the skills to take the next steps in finding employment. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and would highly recommend this to anyone interested in retail, customer service or career counseling,” she said.

“This program helped me to build my confidence and I came to know some important aspects of life to be successful,” agreed Adeena Afridi, who arrived in Canada from Pakistan a year ago and volunteers with the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office outside school.

Nabila Tasnim, who recently graduated from George S. Henry Academy and plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Design at York/Sheridan this fall concurs: “The LIST program helped me develop essential skills needed in a professional environment. I enjoyed working at GLOW. Not only did it give me valuable work experience, but [it] also made [me] feel good about giving back to the community.”

On August 19, the successful graduates celebrated at a special ceremony, which included an inspiring keynote address from Kyle Tomlin, CMP, Senior Director of Education and Events with the Retail Council of Canada that focused on the future growth of the retail industry. Yasmin Ratansi and Rob Oliphant, Members of Parliament for Don Valley East and West respectively, urged the grads to pursue their goals with the skills they have learned during the program. This message was echoed by Sara Ahmed, a graduate of the 2015 LIST class, who spoke about the ways in which the program has positively impacted her life, including boosting her confidence in both school and work experiences.

Following the speeches, students received their RCC certificates, as well as certificates from the attending MPs recognizing their achievement. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this year’s cohort, and wish them the best of luck!

Funding for the Leaders in Service Training Program is generously provided by Mackenzie Investments, TELUS, the W.C. Kitchen Foundation and the Norman and Marian Robertson Foundation. The program is delivered in collaboration with the Retail Council of Canada and the Labour and Education Centre.

New Circles' GLOW clothing service is the largest clothing bank in Toronto. We help 12,000 people of all ages annually.