150 previously disadvantaged learners, selected from mainly rural areas across South Africa, report at Essential Hardware stores across the country today, 3 May 2011, in the launch of the Wholesale & Retail Seta's "Introduction to Retailing Programme", to be hosted and mentored at the stores for a year. The programme is aligned to Unisa and fully accredited by the Seta.
Front (L-R): Richard Mogata (W&RSETA), Ignatius Mpe (W&RSETA), Wiya Mgobosi (W&RSETA) Back (L-R): Michael Valsecchi (Essential Hardware), Professor Michael Cant (UNISA), Richard Earp-Jones (UYAP), and Leigh Blochlinger (Retail Relate).click to enlarge
Known as the Essential Learnership Programme
, it comes from a combined vision shared by retailer, Leigh Blochlinger of Retail Relate and Professor Mike Cant, head of the Marketing & Retail Department at Unisa. Their vision is to be able to offer retailer training programmes that allow learners to be exposed to the latest best practices in both classroom and workplace and to experience the practical knowledge in store and in the field.
Blochlinger feels that it is of critical importance that any retail related training programme be practical in application. The course combines practical experience and academic theory. "Essential Hardware's partnership in the programme is invaluable, allowing the students to train in the workplace," she adds.
The recent skills shortage report released by the W&RSETA states that there is a critical shortage of retail managers making the launch of the programme an essential addition to the South Africa retail training environment.
"Essential Hardware is pleased to be embarking on this journey of growth and development with 150 learners," said Michael Valsecchi, GM of Essential Hardware. He told learners that the company is committed to instilling confidence and developing superior skills levels during their 12 month tenure, which will enable them to walk into any retail environment and excel.
Professor added the course is the start of "progression in training," as it is the foundation for many future years of retail studies. He then announced that the top 10 students would be awarded full bursaries from Unisa to continue their academic journey.