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Shop Owner is ‘Industry Champion’

February 04, 2019

SPAR Llanfyllin

Llanfyllin SPAR owner Mark Prust has agreed to share his experience and knowledge in retail to become an ‘Industry Champion’ for Derwen College, near Oswestry.

The owner of the second-generation business, which was established in 1975, was delighted to volunteer as an Industry Champion. In his role he will support retail staff and students at the specialist college for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Two retail students from Derwen College, in Gobowen, travel to SPAR every Tuesday morning for external work placements. In his new role, Mark will also be keeping the college up to date on the latest technologies, training and best practice.

Mark said he was very pleased to support the college in any way he was able.

“I was surprised but pleased to be asked to contribute my retail experience to enhance the work done at Derwen College. I hope to be as proactive as possible in helping out with discovering and understanding latest innovations,” he said.

“At SPAR we are continuously looking at the latest technology and training for till systems, stock-taking and health and safety, which is information that we can share with college staff and students.

“We enjoy having students working here along with learning support assistant Julie Bryan. We have not had to adapt the way we work around them, they have fitted in seamlessly and are a pleasure to work with.”

Mark said he was also looking forward to visiting the college’s main Gobowen site and to coming to see the students at the annual sponsored walk, fete and Summer Show.”

Retail students Thomas Alexander and Sian Walker work at the SPAR every Tuesday, taking on roles such as stacking shelves, checking stock and customer service. They both enjoy their time working at SPAR, with Sian particularly relishing conversing with staff and customers in her native Welsh language.

Retail Studies Pathway Lead Sioned Davies said it was wonderful to have Mark on board as an industry champion.

She said: “The role of the industry champion involves being a point of contact for the Retail department. Mark can advise us on till systems and record of stock, as well as offering training support to our staff and students. The purpose of the role is to keep Derwen College –­ as a training provider – current. This will ensure we are training our students in the skills they require to work in a retail environment after college.”

Derwen College Commercial Development Manager Pete Evans said he was delighted to welcome a new Industry Champion to the college.

He said: “We are pleased to welcome Mark as Industry Champion for our Retail Studies pathway. At Derwen College we value the experience and knowledge of businesses and business leaders in the community who can ensure that we remain current in our practices.

“We would benefit from more Industry Champions to support us in all of our vocational pathways. We hope that people with expertise in retail, hospitality or horticulture will come forward to offer their support as Industry Champions at Derwen College. It is a rewarding role that can help businesses give back to their local area, support our students in their learning and help to promote inclusivity in the workplace.”

Work experience

Derwen College students Thomas Alexander and Sian Walker


Pictured at top of page: Derwen College Retail Pathway Lead Sioned Davies, Derwen College students Thomas Alexander and Sian Walker, and Llanfyllin SPAR owner Mark Prust



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