Oct 19, 2005
On Wednesday, 19 October 2005 the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (WRSETA) in partnership with Africa’s largest supermarket group, Shoprite, announced a R30 million investment into a Retail Apprenticeship Programme (RAP).
This is the first project of this nature in the South African retail sector and the purpose of the initiative is to act as a vehicle for creating jobs and to improve the quality of labour coming into the retail business in the country.
In RAP one thousand persons from previously disadvantaged backgrounds will be employed by the Shoprite group on a retail learnership qualification for a period of one year, after which 90% will be given full time jobs, of whom at least 4% will be disabled persons.
The official date on which learners will commence the one year contract period will be on Tuesday, 1 November 2005. The learners will be placed in stores of the Shoprite group and will work through all the departments in the store on a structured programme designed to make them competent across a wide range of retailing skills. They will also attend regular classes in order to complete the theoretical section of the qualification.
With skills development being one of Government’s key areas in its economic plan of action for increasing South Africa’s average growth from 3.5% to 4.5-5.0% over the next five years, the Shoprite Group is making constant headway in combating skills shortages as the largest contributor to the skills levy within the retail/wholesale sector.
The group has some 400 learning programmes and average about 40,000 training interventions a year, ranging from management development through to basic shop floor skills, as well as training people on sophisticated systems and technologies, important for a world class retailer.
The wholesale & retail sector, the fourth largest contributor to the national gross domestic product (GDP), currently employs over 1.1 million people. As one of the leading Setas, W&RSeta is responsible for implementing the National Skills Development Strategy and to date some 6000 learners are participating.
Shoprite Human Resources Director, Callie Burger, comments: “The Shoprite group fully supports the government’s efforts to improve the skills base of the country and grow the economy by investing in skills development as an investment for the future.
“We offer quality learning and qualifications employees can use to further their careers. The group is happy to report that the W&RSeta upgraded our accreditation as a learning provider after an audit. We received commendation for the high standards of training delivery, the quality of our learning programmes, assessment strategy and learner support.”
More than 62% of Shoprite’s employees have service records of over 10 years and staff turnover is stable, indicating high levels of job satisfaction and the ability to supply a variety of career opportunities.
Burger adds: “The value of our people is critical to our business success. Given our rapid expansion into Africa and India we, as a global retail group, need to have knowledgeable, top level staff that can compete in any country in which we operate.”
The Group operates 789 corporate stores in South Africa under the Shoprite, Checkers, Freshmark, OK Furniture, Checkers Hyper, House and Home, U-Save and Hungry Lion brands with their subsidiaries, offering many promising career prospects.