SPAR Scotland, the leading convenience retailer in Scotland, is working in partnership with Police Scotland and Lochside Academy, the largest secondary school in Aberdeen, to discuss positive community engagement, CSR and career opportunities.
The first roundtable sessions took place at Lochside Academy on Monday 20 March when Garry Brailsford, SPAR Scotland Area Manager and Paula Middleton, SPAR Scotland Marketing Manager spoke to approximately 100 students from four x S1 classes (children aged 13 and 14 years old) about community engagement, anti-social behaviour, and career opportunities with SPAR and CJ Lang & Son Ltd.
A first for a symbol group in Scotland, the event has been a huge success with SPAR Scotland invited back in April to do another roundtable session with more S1 students going into S2 and then later in the year with S3 and S4 pupils, (aged 15 and 16 years old), about career opportunities with SPAR and what an employer expects of an employee in the workplace.
SPAR Scotland Marketing Manager Paula Middleton said: “We are very grateful to Lochside Academy for giving us the opportunity to meet some of their first-year pupils. Visiting the biggest secondary school in Aberdeen has been a very positive step in us getting to know our customers who are also our neighbours.
“We were keen to engage with the students at the school and have a proactive roundtable discussion about career opportunities and how SPAR can help them in the future in terms of community support and involvement. The students on the day were excellent with some great questions asked and discussions held in every class.
“We are excited to be invited to come back again next month and discuss our partnership with the GTG Apprentice Scheme and other careers we will have available in customer service, retail, warehouse and logistics.”
Guidance Teacher Hannah Scriven, Lochside Academy said; “We at Lochside were delighted to welcome colleagues from SPAR Scotland to begin an exciting collaboration and partnership. It was a pleasure to see pupils engage in open discussion around community spirit, career aspirations and to learn about the SPAR business.
Pupils were excited about the prospects of future training and work opportunities at both store and distribution levels. The glimmer of hope and aspiration in pupils’ eyes was a joy to see as they gained access directly to retail industry professionals. This valuable opportunity has already increased pupils’ knowledge regarding career pathways. SPAR shared that two of the greatest assets of the business are staff and community engagement. This was clearly evident by the commitment demonstrated to building a curriculum insert and community partnership with Lochside pupils across year groups.
This was further evident by the personable, professional and engaging delivery by Paula Middleton and Garry Brailsford, true assets to the business. We look forward to continuing to build upon this evolving partnership with SPAR Scotland and Police Scotland colleagues PC Harry Jackson School based officer and Sarah Dunn Early Intervention Officer.”
PC Harry Jackson, Police Scotland added; “This is a fantastic opportunity and will be hugely beneficial for the community. It was great to see the young people so engaged during the talks and I look forward to developing the project further. Thanks to SPAR Scotland.”
SPAR Scotland has multiple stores right across the city of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The talks are thought to be the first of their kind in Scotland in terms of a convenience retailer engaging with a school about a variety of topics.