Big guns take hands to narrow skills gap
Woolworths has designed a programme for academic staff at Boland College and five other FET Colleges in the Western Cape to help their students with a career in retail. This is being done in collaboration with the Wholesale & Retail SETA.
The programme will help to narrow the skills gap and prepare graduates for a career in retail. The programme works with academics across disciplines such as hospitality, finance, marketing, information technology and business administration. Lecturing staff will visit stores, head office, the distribution centre and suppliers to gain an in-depth insight into how the retail environment operates from supplier to customer.
Dr Thami Mazwai, chairman of Wholesale & Retail SETA, said partnerships between the private sector, educational institutions and government are critical in addressing the gap in skills in the retail environment.
“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. She added: “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.”
This initiative is a prime example of how the private sector can work with higher education institutions to produce the graduates needed to drive the RSA’s economy.
The partnership between Woolworths, W&R SETA and the FET Colleges was formalised at a meeting at 15 on Orange Hotel recently. The colleges that will participate in the programme are Boland College, South Cape College, West Coast College, False Bay College, Northlink College and Cape Town College. On this occasion lecturers were given the opportunity to provide input for the programme and to help establish the learning outcomes. Their feedback will be incorporated in the programme to ensure that better equipped and knowledgeable lecturers emerge. Woolworths has also partnered with the SETA and Stellenbosch University’s Business School to provide training for unemployed graduates who are interested in employment in the retail sector.
Article source: Boland College