Since establishing a partnership with Stepping Stones NI in 2020, Henderson Retail has employed a number of new recruits to work across several of their SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA stores.

Stepping Stones NI was established in 1996 and operates five social enterprises and four core services which support people who experience barriers to learning and employment.

Working alongside Henderson Retail, Stepping Stones NI established the ‘Step into Retail’ and ‘Step into Deli’ academies, providing clients with key skills and qualifications that are required to be successful in retail and foodservice. This included World Host Customer Service Training – the world-class training programme designed to deliver excellence in customer service, alongside Food Safety, Health and Safety and Manual Handling training.

Henderson Retail provided all participants in training with an introduction to their business which operates over 100 SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA stores across Northern Ireland. The company recently announced they would be embarking on 26 significant retail projects in 2022 providing even more employment opportunities for local communities.

Gayle Clinghan, Talent Manager for Henderson Retail commented; “Henderson Group is one of the leading employers in Northern Ireland and our Retail business has been growing steadily in the past two years. Working with Stepping Stones NI gave us an opportunity to provide their clients with a background to our business and, with some of our retail employees, share what it is like to work in a busy community store or supermarket.

“We provided support and guidance as they undertook their training and qualifications which guaranteed them an interview with Henderson Retail at the end of their training. 15 employees were initially recruited from the Stepping Stones NI academies across 10 stores, and 13 of them are working in stores today, we also have two new-starts working in one of our most recent store openings, EUROSPAR Kircubbin.”

Carla Bowyer from Stepping Stones NI commented; “Our clients have learnt essential key skills thanks to our partnership with Henderson Retail, providing employment opportunities not only on the shop floor but within a foodservice environment in their in-store delis. We are very proud to see our clients secure employment within their local community stores where they will learn even more while doing the job with their new colleagues.”

Henderson Retail and Stepping Stones NI partnership operated across Ards and North Down Borough Council, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, and was financed by the Department for Communities, Department for the Economy and the European Social Fund.