Woolworths recently hosted its annual ‘Inside Retail’ programme with 32 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in Cape Town.
The programme, launched in 2013, seeks to provide meaningful and tangible outcomes to raising the quality of tertiary education in the South Africa, specifically in retail management. The ‘Inside Retail’ programme is Woolworths contribution to meeting the Department of Higher Education and Training’s strategic plan to develop a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path in South Africa.
This year, the programme targeted 32 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) lecturers through a week-long, embedded course, aimed at providing practical experience and knowledge of the retail value chain in South Africa. The course also took the participants to various Woolworths distribution centres and suppliers around the Western Cape to give leaners a first-hand practical view of how a world class retailer operates.
Speaking about the importance of the Woolworths ‘Inside Retail programme, Sibongile Antoni, Woolworths Head of Human Resources for Learning and Development said, “Woolworths is committed to the advancement of skills development in South Africa. Collectively, government, labour and the private sector have a responsibility to the country to find ways to collaborate more closely to finding solutions to growing our economy and preparing our young people for the world of work. To this end, Woolworths is attempting to promote skills development to unlock transformation of the retail industry, which is in line with our commitment to ensuring that our business is making a positive contribution in the broader context of South Africa.”
The lecturers who participate in the programme are not only accountable for providing students with the knowledge and skills that they will need to succeed in the Retail Management course, but also have the challenging task of ensuring that they supply industry and the country with skilled individuals to meet the skills shortage in SA.
After completing the five-day programme, Nathaniel Masiza, a lecturer from the College of Cape Town said: “I wish I could turn back the hands of time and teach my students what I know now about retail. I would have taught very differently”.
“Woolworths investment into the ‘Inside Retail’ programme symbolises the brand’s corporate ethos and commitment to offer high quality learning opportunities to not only improve the level of tertiary education in South Africa, but to also tangible and positively impact the retail industry for generations to come.
“This programme provides lecturers a chance to better understand the complexities of retail so that together, we can be part of the skills development transformation that we want to see in our country,” added Antoni.
“By offering the lecturers industry-related exposure, we’re helping to ensure that our institutions of learning have the capability to deliver the knowledge and skills that are required in the sector,” concluded Antoni.