NOffLA calls on Government to introduce mandatory training for alcohol retailers

The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has today (24 June) called on the Irish Government to introduce a mandatory training programme for all retailers of alcohol.

Celebrating the one year anniversary of its innovative e-Learning Responsible Trading Certificate (RTC) training programme, NOffLA reiterates its call on Government to introduce mandatory training for any retailer of alcohol.

Evelyn Jones, Chairperson of NOffLA, said: “The Government must wake up to this danger. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain from introducing mandatory training. Other sectors such as the building, delicatessen and transport require their staff to be fully trained and the same should apply to alcohol retailers. We simply must ensure that anyone who is in a position of responsibility like this is fully trained and fully aware of the potential dangers they operate in. Therefore the Government needs to make a stand; they need to deliver a meaningful, national and mandatory training programme.”

“It is our view that no person should sell alcohol unless they have been adequately trained. Training staff to be responsible retailers is an integral part of our moral obligation to society at large and the communities we operate in.

“In the absence of a Government led initiative on mandatory training, our Association took the lead in developing, launching and implementing the RTC training programme. This was a great cost to our Association but we believe that no person should retail alcohol without being properly trained”.

In June 2011, against the backdrop of falling membership rates, business closures, job losses, and decreased turnover, NOffLA developed and launched an online and interactive e-Learning training programme. The objective of this online offering was to ensure that members continued to be trained to responsibly retail alcohol without placing any additional cost burdens on their businesses as training can be delivered directly to the retailer at their place of work.

In recognition of the innovative training initiative developed, NOffLA received two awards in March of this year from the Irish Institute of Training and Development. Anita Gilmore, NOffLA’s RTC Training Manager won the ‘Individual Recognition’ award and NOffLA’s e-Learning training programme won the ‘Most Innovative Use of Technology’ award. The training programme has now been acknowledged in Ireland as the most positive initiative to promote the responsible retailing of alcohol.

Since 2011, NOffLA has trained 269 employees from various off-licences across Ireland though the e-Learning programme. Over 1,000 have been trained in total since their original training programme was launched. According to Kevin O’Brien, owner of several CarryOut Off-licences and this year’s winner of NOffLA’s Responsible Retailer of the Year Award, “To date, twenty of my employees have been trained by the RTC training programme and the training is now a condition of our employment terms.

“With this high level of training, my employees are now better equipped to avert situations earlier, which actually results in less work for the Gardaí later on. If this training were mandatory, I feel that it has the potential to reduce access by young people to alcohol and reduce the incidents of antisocial behaviour.

“Through winning this award we have found that people are more willing to understand that we want to be responsible retailers of alcohol and that there are other factors that are more important than just sales and margins”.

The RTC training programme clearly defines the law in relation to alcohol sales and trains employees on how to handle difficult situations. The e-Learning technology provides a flexible training solution where increased numbers of staff can train at regular intervals without impacting on trade and keeping costs to a minimum.

Edwin O’Callaghan, of the O’Donovan Group in Cork stated, “Over forty of my staff have now been trained and I see this training as imperative to them being able to carry out their jobs effectively. I cannot understand how in this day and age, training is not mandatory for the retailing of such an age-restricted product”.
 

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