First shopping centre workplace initiative to educate kids about working in retail launches at The Avenue

The Avenue Shopping Centre in Newton Mearns in partnership with Mearns Primary School has launched the first ever shopping centre workplace initiative to educate kids on the benefits of working in retail.

avenue kids thumbs up

As well as introducing primary school children to the fun experience of working in retail, the initiative aims to give some understanding of the industry by spending time with the national retailers based within the busy shopping centre.

The retail sector, which in the UK is worth over £388 billion, is the largest private sector employer in the UK, employs over 3 million people. With this in mind, The Avenue and Mearns Primary School have launched the Young Workforce Programme with Asda, M&S, Waterstones and Specsavers giving more than 800 local children aged from 4-11 the opportunity to learn from retailers at the centre.

The sessions will be age group appropriate and have been created to be in line with the objectives of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence standards. The programme also aims to offer children an authentic working experience and enables them to learn real life skills, as well as learning about the value of money.

The initiative has been developed by The Avenue Centre Manager Michelle McCabe, who said: “We believe the project is the first of its kind being undertaken within a shopping centre setting for primary school children. The Avenue is proud to be able to offer children within our local community the chance to experience such an immersive and interactive experience.

“We have put this scheme in place in partnership with Mearns Primary School to help local children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century to support them in becoming successful learners, building confidence, and become effective contributors to society later in life.

“The children will learn valuable skills and lessons for work, school and life through hands-on work experience, including visual merchandising, cash handling, customer service and property management. We are now looking forward to working with East Renfrewshire Council to continue to expand and build on the project throughout the year.”

The project facilitates a half hour lesson for pupils from every age group from nursery to 11 years old. Every child at Mearns Primary School will take part in a half hour lesson hosted by various national and independent retailers, including the Specsavers store at the centre.

Nishma Patel, Store Manager at Specsavers Newton Mearns, said: “It has been great welcoming the Primary Three children from Mearns Primary into the store, teaching them about eyecare and about the job of an optician.

“The children have had the chance to try on glasses; view photographs of the back of the eye and also see and touch contact lenses. It has been lovely to see their bright young minds fascinated by what we have been showing them and we think the programme is really beneficial in giving them real life exposure into the world of work.”

Primary 1’s from Mearns Primary School visited the centre’s ASDA store throughout October and November and took part in the first Avenue lessons. Key retail skills such as working the till, product placement and cash handling were covered in the lesson. M&S recently completed Primary 6 Dragon’s Den style presentations helping them with their confidence and a tour of the back of the store. Waterstones worked with Primary 2 classes on the alphabet and organising store be genre.

Sharon Hunter, Headteacher at Mearns Primary commented: “The local community provision that the Avenue has offered our school has greatly improved the motivation and engagement of all our learners from P1 to P7.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working collaboratively with our retail partners in developing creative and innovative approaches that promote the Developing the Young Workforce national agenda. The children have developed and used transferrable enterprising skills which will prepare them for learning, life and work and their future careers.”

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, added: “There is no issue more fundamental to the future of Scotland than education. Ensuring that every young person is well prepared for life beyond the school gates, whatever path they choose, is something on which we can all agree on and business has a key role to play. That’s why CBI Scotland has called for all young people to have at least four meaningful, high-quality interactions with the world of work while at secondary school.

“Programmes like this should be celebrated for taking a lead in familiarising children with working life and helping them to develop the skills they’ll need for a successful career.” The Avenue is owned by NewRiver. For further information on the centre visit


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Issued on behalf of The Avenue Shopping Centre in Newton Mearns by Liquorice Media

Date: 20 March 2018

Notes to Editors

• The Avenue Shopping Centre is located in the heart of Newton Mearns, located on the outskirts of Glasgow City Centre. The Centre offers shoppers a warm and welcoming shopping experience, with 201,500 sq ft of prime space and home to around 45 stores, including key retailers such as ASDA, M&S, Boots and Waterstones.