Inside the new financial literacy courses for retail staff

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Looking to upgrade your financial knowledge – or support your retail staff? The Australian Retailers Association and Afterpay have launched a new – free – financial education program

 

Until recently, Melbourne store manager Ash Whittingham lived pay cheque to pay cheque, and rarely gave much thought to her long-term financial goals.

 

But since finishing several financial literacy courses created by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Afterpay, Ash has a new outlook on her finances.

 

“I feel confident in knowing where I need to make changes to ensure my financial wellbeing continues to flourish,” she says. “I have really started to look at long-term financial goals, rather than just short-term… and I’ve begun to use budget tracking tools to help manage my income.”

I have really started to look at long-term financial goals, rather than just short-term.

- Ash Whittingham, store manager Decjuba

Ash, who is the senior store manager at Decjuba’s South Yarra store, was one of the first retail workers to complete the program, which has been designed especially for Australian retail staff.

 

The self-led courses cover a range of topics and explain concerts such as interest and superannuation. The courses include: 

 

  • Foundations of financial wellbeing 
  • Introduction to financial resilience for retail workers 
  • Introduction to concepts of wealth generation
  • Understanding financial products 

 

All the courses were independently designed by learning experts at education platform OpenLearning and are offered online.

 

“I completed the courses after work,” says Ash. “I was able to sit down away from distractions and properly focus on the course work.”

 

The online program aims to address the financial education gap among retail workers.

 

In Australia, the average age of a sales assistant is 26, with the vast majority of roles filled by women, says ARA CEO Paul Zahra. “The retail sector employs more young people than most other industries, providing Australians with their first employment experience.

The retail sector employs more young people than most other industries, providing Australians with their first employment experience.

- Paul Zahra, ARA

“One of the consistent gaps that exists is around financial literacy. It can be a complex area, especially if you’re young and starting out.”

 

He adds that financial literacy is even more critical in the wake of the pandemic, given that some retail workers have accessed superannuation early. “Topics like superannuation, interest, budgeting and financial risk can be tricky areas to understand, which is why these courses with Afterpay have been developed.”

 

“I started off my career on the shop floor at Target some 30 years ago, and these sorts of courses didn’t exist. Financial literacy was just something you learned on the go back then. Now, retail workers have great training and development opportunities at their fingertips.”

 

The financial literacy program is the latest step in a strategic partnership between Afterpay and the ARA. Over the next two years the pair will be rolling out a series of initiatives designed to support, promote and future-proof Australia’s $325 billion retail sector.  

 

To find out more about the financial literacy education program, which is supported by Afterpay and is available to all retail workers, visit the ARA’s website