Spotlight on Shania Williams

Spotlight on Shania Williams

Shania Williams works at the Santa Teresa Community Store, located 85 km from Alice Springs.

Also known as Ltyentye Apurte, the community is home to around 500 people, speaking mostly the Eastern Arrernte language.

Shania has been working at Outback Stores for six months, and in that time has progressed rapidly through her Certificate II in Retail Services and is currently studying Certificate III.

“I enjoy learning new things,” says Shania, who especially enjoyed learning how to use the cash registers and helping in the kitchen.

Training officer Emma Skyba has been mentoring Shania through her studies and says, “Shania enjoys helping out wherever it’s needed and serving her community”.

Shkarra and Matt

Shania enjoys helping out wherever it’s needed and serving her community.

– Emma Skyba

Shania works five days a week in the store, as well as evenings with the community night patrol. She and her four-year-old son live with her grandmother, who helps Shania balance the demands of working and child-rearing.

Lisa Ristevski, previous manager of the store says “Shania’s very reliable and shows lots of initiative. She is a pleasure to have at work.”

Current store manager Harika Akula says that Shania’s strengths are her attention to detail, and her willingness to learn and take on new responsibilities. “She has good time management and a positive attitude,” she adds.

Shania is saving up to buy a car and would like to take her son on holiday. The furthest she has travelled is to Sydney, Adelaide and Darwin. Next she would like to visit Brisbane or Melbourne, and would take her son to visit the zoo and museums. She hopes to eventually send her son to boarding school.

Shania is looking forward to learning more about the store and managing it herself one day.

Ashley and Karen in Car Photo

Training Updates

Training Updates

Outback Stores continues to empower local team members through retail training certificates and career pathways. Last year 70 students completed a nationally accredited retail qualification, including a credited unit of competency food safety training for store managers.

Last year we again encountered challenges in keeping local staff engaged in work and training as we continued to be impacted by COVID-19. Staff attendance and face-to-face learning for students were affected due to the restrictions around COVID-19 mandates. Despite these challenges, 14 students completed a nationally accredited retail qualification, and 58 store managers completed a credited unit of competency in food safety training.

We continue to lead our industry in providing a relevant, interactive, and culturally appropriate learning experience for our staff and we maintain an unwavering commitment towards career progression.

Alma Ngalmi was appointed as the first Indigenous Training Manager last year. She is now leading the way for others to follow in her footsteps and is mentoring Dotty Repu from Maningrida who was promoted to be the second Indigenous training officer at Outback Stores. Dotty has been an exceptional team member and was formally recognised by winning the 2022 NT Training Awards – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

The training team continues to work closely with the NT Department of Education, as developing retail pathways for remote students in communities remains a core objective. Last year we were able to deliver school-based retail traineeships for the first time in Ngukurr and Santa Teresa with great support from our store managers and their senior team members.

Our focus for the immediate future is to increase the number of school-based trainees in remote communities and to see young aspiring retailers progress through our pathways into management.

Story adapted from the Outback Stores Annual Report 2021-22.