7 November 2023: A 50th Mini Woolies has opened, with Coreen School in Blacktown the latest school to join the program that's aimed at supporting the education of students with disabilities through hands-on learning experiences.
Mini Woolies are set up in schools and post school providers to simulate the operations of an actual Woolworths supermarket, with baskets for fresh food, shelving for groceries, ticketing, signage and Woolworths branded uniforms students can wear to create an immersive educational experience.
Coreen School is a School for Specific Purposes (SSP) that caters for 70 students with additional behavioural and learning needs such as autism or an intellectual disability.
Coreen School Principal Tim Gardner said: "Having a Mini Woolies at Coreen School is potentially life changing for our students and our community. It will provide our teachers with the opportunity to highlight the real-life outcomes they are supporting our students to achieve. Students will be able to learn key skills in an environment where they feel safe and supported."
Over the last few weeks, the store has been built by a local Woolworths construction team. They refurbished the old laundry room into the brand new Coreen School Mini Woolies, as well as the school hospitality annex next door. Groceries and supplies have been delivered by the local Woolworths store team, with the team also teaching students and staff how to use the registers. A special addition of BIG W clothing and activity packs has also been added to the store for students to engage with.
Woolworths Blacktown store manager Naomi Winefield said: “It’s a great initiative for our local community. There’s been a huge amount of interest from my team wanting to train the students ahead of the launch event. We hope they can experience the retail environment in exciting new ways.”
Earlier this year, the Mini Woolies program, a joint initiative from Woolworths Group and Fujitsu, celebrated its fifth anniversary at St Edmund’s College in Wahroonga, which was the first Mini Woolies site. Since 2018, the program has grown to 50 locations across almost every state and territory in Australia. The program now operates in both SSPs and post school providers that support people with disabilities as they transition to life beyond school.
Founder of the Mini Woolies program and Woolworths Group Technology Director for Service Operations and Infrastructure, Patrick Misciagna, looked back on the growth of the program and said: “It’s incredible to think about how far we’ve come since that first Father’s Day tea conversation I had at my daughter’s school five years ago. Getting prepared to open our 50th Mini Woolies is absolutely one of the proudest moments of my life.
“There have been so many communities who have welcomed us along the way, into their schools, into their learning spaces to create a supermarket experience in a familiar and comfortable environment. We are immensely proud of every Mini Woolies we have launched and the thousands of young people who have used them as part of their everyday learning.
“Working alongside Fujitsu, we hope that the Mini Woolies program can continue to help create better experiences for a better tomorrow for the students and schools involved.”
Kathy Cakarnis, Vice President of Customer, Industry and Engagement for Fujitsu Oceania, said: “The Mini Woolies program sits at the core of Fujitsu’s values, as we are committed to using technology to help everybody reach their full potential. These values are common across both Woolworths and Fujitsu and we’re immensely grateful that our strategic relationship has been able to deliver this meaningful program.”