“There are a number of outcomes, but one of the most important outcomes is that we have employees that will be trained to work and remain within the wholesale or retail arm of greengrocery,” , says Fotina Babalis, Melbourne Polytechnic Service Delivery Manager at Melbourne Market Authority.
“It has been very challenging to retain employees, [store owners] would train them in-house and they’d work for a while and then they’d leave for other opportunities.”
She says, it's something the industry has been needing for some time: “This industry has a high turnover of staff and so we are hoping that by undertaking these courses, staff can be properly trained and be retained throughout the industry.”
The certificates, which have been developed in partnership between Melbourne Polytechnic, the Melbourne Market Authority and a team of highly skilled greengrocers, are designed to give students practical experience, says Fotina.
Students will emerge from the program with the confidence and ability to identify and understand the different varieties of fruit and vegetables, talk about the produce and give advice to customers. They'll understand how to package and display the items, how to handle and store produce as well as placing purchase orders.
The training program was launched at the World Union of Wholesale Market Congress, which was hosted for the first time in Melbourne in October this year.
This exposure to the world of wholesale and retail markets has put Melbourne Polytechnic and the Melbourne Market Authority on the map for the Greengrocery training program.
The certificates are open to anyone, from school leavers to those already with a foot in the industry, and include work placement opportunities.
For Fotina, it is particularly exciting to see the course so close to accepting its first cohort and kicking off classes in February 2018.
“It's really exciting. It's been more than a year in the making.”
Fotina has been meeting the with the course’s industry partners at market time (in the very early hours of the morning), and she says she’s been made to feel like a part of the community.
Now, she says she is returning the favour by helping to build courses that will benefit the community and see the industry go from strength to strength.
If you are interested in a career at the markets, managing big or small greengrocers, please check out our world-first Greengrocery training programs.
Media enquiries should be directed to Melbourne Polytechnic Media Officer, Anita Coia, on 03 9269 1251, mobile 0466 453 467, or ua.ud1558916059e.cin1558916059hcety1558916059lopen1558916059ruobl1558916059em@ai1558916059dem1558916059
Melbourne Polytechnic operates across seven campuses and five specialist training centres throughout Melbourne. The institute delivers high quality vocational and higher education in industry-standard facilities.
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Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener.