Talking Retail Careers at the Retail Council of Canada Roundtable

The retail industry may be disrupted, but it is certainly not collapsing. In fact, retailers are struggling with a constant demand to find good entry level candidates. “There is a lot of opportunity out there, if you’re reliable and eager to learn,” according to Kyle Tomlin, Senior Director, Education & Events at the Retail Council of Canada.   

This was a key message at a recent roundtable discussion held at New Circles that brought together retailers and non-profits to discuss how community-based training initiatives can help fill the hiring gap. Organized by the Retail Council of Canada and the United Way Toronto and York Region, participants included hiring managers from Henry’s, Golf Town, L’Occitane and the Urban Cyclist, along with staff from St. Stephens Community Centre, Tropicana Youth Services and New Circles.

The group discussed how programs such as New Circles’ Retail Foundations and LIST youth retail training can give graduates an edge, by not only teaching retail basics, but also coaching them on employer expectations, interview skills and where the jobs are to be found. Using GLOW as a built-in learning platform gives students an added advantage of gaining hands-on experience during the training.     

Fatima Miranda, Henry’s Human Resources Manager, encouraged entry-level training programs to highlight career opportunities in the sector. “Our focus is to attract employees who want to build a career in retail, and we will support them with management training,” she said. 

Tomlin added, “There are many positions at head office. An entry level position is just a starting point as you begin to move up the ladder.”     

As we prepare to launch our third cycle of Retail Foundations at the end of February, this is good news for our graduates! 

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