Woolworths has designed a programme for academic staff at 6 FET colleges in the Western Cape, in collaboration with the Wholesale; Retail SETA, to help their students with a career in retail.
The programme will help to close the skills gap and prepare graduates for a career in retail. The programme works with academics across disciplines like hospitality, finance, marketing, information technology and business administration. The teaching staff will visit stores, head office, the distribution centre and suppliers to give them an in-depth insight into how the retail environment operates from supplier to customer. They will spend time on-site from 1 to 5 July 2013.
The partnership between Woolworths, W&R SETA and the FET Colleges was formalised at an event on 24 April 2013. From left to right: Michael Lawrence (Executive Director of the National Clothing Retail Federation of South Africa), Hon. Adv. Ishmael Malale (Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training), Sibongile Antoni (Learning & Development Manager at Woolworths), Sr. Thami Mazwai (W&R SETA Chairman), Ian Moir (Woolworths Group Chief Executive Officer), Ellouise Bintcliffe (Head of Wollworths Service & Store Communication) and Chatnal Butler (Head of Organisation Development at Woolworths).
“Partnerships between the private sector, educational institutions and government are critical in addressing the gap in skills in the retail environment,” says Dr. Thami Mazwai, Chairman Wholesale & Retail SETA.
“Woolworths has decided to pioneer this collaboration for the benefit of retail in South Africa, by engaging in knowledge sharing with lecturers to bridge the divide between current workplace reality and the educational curriculum,” says Chantal Butler, Head of Organisation Effectiveness and Remuneration at Woolworths. “Our partnership with W&R SETA is part of our long-term skills development plan to get closer to learners and lecturers and provide meaningful experience to open up retail careers,” Butler continued.
This initiative is a prime example of how the private sector can work with higher education institutions to produce the graduates needed to drive our economy.