Head of Retail Operations for Musgrave NI Caroline Rowan; Sean Hanna, Director of Services for the Now Group (back right) and new employees twin brothers Mícheál (left) and Tomás (right) who have been employed in Centra.
Musgrave NI, which operates the SuperValu and Centra brands, has partnered with social enterprise, the NOW Group to support people with learning difficulties and autism into sustainable employment.
The retail and wholesale group has launched its new Skills to Employment Programme (STEP) to employ 25 people across its estate over the next five years.
Twins Tomás and Mícheál Harkin, NOW Group participants, have already been employed at SuperValu Dairy Farm in Dunmurry and Centra Foxes Glen on the Stewartstown Road in Belfast as part of the recruitment initiative.
The NOW Group is a multi-award-winning social enterprise operating across Ireland - committed to getting adults with learning difficulties and autism into sustainable jobs for the future.
SuperValu and Centra stores are also becoming JAM Card friendly, increasing inclusivity and accessibility for more shoppers across Northern Ireland.
Developed by the NOW Group, JAM Card is a simple, discreet yet extremely effective tool that allows those with learning difficulties, autism or any communication barrier to ask for Just A Minute in any social situation, in a non-verbal way. The JAM Card and app currently has 145,000 users across the island of Ireland.
SuperValu and Centra store colleagues are now undertaking a training programme with the aim that all stores will be JAM Card friendly by September.
Speaking about the partnership, Caroline Rowan, Head of Retail Operations for Musgrave said:
“We are excited to partner with the Now Group to offer new employment opportunities to adults with learning disabilities and autism. Tomas has been working in SuperValu DairyFarm for over two months and is already proving a great asset to the team. He has expressed how much he’s enjoying his new role while Mícheál has just started in Centra Foxes Glen. We are looking forward to seeing them both progress in their roles and are delighted to have them on board.”
“Our stores operate in the heart of communities across Northern Ireland, and we are committed to providing an open, inclusive, and accessible shopping experience for all our customers. The JAM Card initiative will improve accessibility for customers, and ensure our colleagues are all equipped to provide great customer service to everyone.”
Sean Hanna, NOW Group Director of Services, added:
"We are thrilled to partner with Musgrave NI to create inclusive and sustainable employment opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities, Autism and neurodiverse conditions. At NOW Group, we are dedicated to empowering individuals, and this collaboration with Musgrave NI allows us to create sustainable job opportunities for our participants.
“Moreover, the JAM Card commitment by SuperValu and Centra stores is a significant step towards inclusivity and accessibility in Northern Ireland. Since launching the JAM Card initiative in 2012, the scheme has been a resounding success with more than 2,500 organisations across the region participating in the training programme. With its non-verbal communication approach, JAM enables those with learning difficulties or communication barriers to feel more comfortable and confident in social situations.”
To find out more about the NOW Group’s services, visit: www.nowgroup.org