Ireland is to be the first European country to provide online training and certification for off-licence staff.
The chairperson of the National Off-Licence Association, Evelyn Jones, has announced that Ireland will be the first market in Europe to provide specialised online training in addition to formal certification for management and staff who have direct responsibility for retailing alcohol. Under a new initiative, specialist alcohol retailers will have access to a dedicated e-learning facility which can lead to qualification for a ‘Responsible Trading Certificate’. This is the first online facility of its type in Europe.
Jones explained the association’s background to the initiative: “The National Off-Licence Association has been providing specialist training to the proprietors and staff of its 350 member outlets for more than 10 years and now this expertise is being made available for the first time online and also to all independent alcohol retailers outside the membership of our association.”
Heretofore, the need to send staff to on-site training courses has presented a problem for many independent retailers throughout the country, in terms of staff resources and cost. Despite this all member outlets of the National Off-Licence Association have participated in specialist training. “This has been undertaken by our members in the past on a voluntary basis, because while our association has been lobbying to have mandatory training introduced, to date the Government has not introduced such a requirement in its recently updated licensing legislation.”
The NOffLA chairperson also explained how the initiative provides the training elements already regarded as essential for members of the National Off-Licence Association. “The new online professional course deals with societal issues and positions the off-licence in a responsible role in the community. It also empowers staff to recognise potential underage purchasing situations and assists them by instilling confidence when facing problems that can arise when refusing sales”.