Once the company has decided that they wish to participate in our occupational qualification programmes, they should contact us. Then a member of the Retail Ireland Skillnet team will visit the store and deliver a presentation to managers and staff, this can be organised to suit the business in terms of dates, times, group sizes etc. An assessor training workshop can then be organised, either in house if there are sufficient numbers or at a nearby location with people from other business.

Once the assessor has completed the workshop they will be given the first module folder and will return to the store to get started. There is support available at no additional charge for assessors who find it difficult to get started when they return to the store.

The candidates are each given resource material, which is like a workbook, they work through this with the assistance of their assessor but it is very much self-driven. Some companies find it beneficial to allocate time on a weekly basis for a group discussion on sections within the resource material, as generally group discussion stimulates learning. This meeting can take anything from 15 minutes to an hour, but there should be no need for it to last longer than an hour, again the system that each company adopts will be designed to suit to the needs of their business, as every business is different.

As the employees progress through the module, they are assessed through observation and questioning against set criteria, by their assessor. The assessor observes them handling everyday situations and gives feedback as to how they performed against the criteria and against the resource material that they have worked through.

At the end of the module the assessor will have observed the employee on at least three occasions, they will then meet on a one to one to discuss the learning outcomes and how the employee performed while being observed, they will also be asked 10 questions from a question bank, these relate directly to the module and the material.

Once the assessor is satisfied that the employee meets the criteria they will then complete an assessment summary and a candidate log book which will be sent to the Retail Skillnet office for verification. Organisations that have availed of this very practical form of training have reported immediate improvements on the shop floor. Their employees have become more enthusiastic, confident and competent.

Following assessment of log books, certificates are sent out for each candidate. Most companies decide to hold a presentation lunch or evening, where certificates are presented to employees. Many of these presentation events are attended by government ministers, IBEC officials and Skillnet personnel. It is an important event for the employees.