The Edcon Retail Academy - Edcon has been recognised as an ISOE (Institute of Sectoral Excellence) within the Wholesale and Retail sectors
Internships The following internship opportunities provide a good practical exposure for graduates:
TOPP (Training Outside of Public Practice);
Regional Credit Office; and
In addition to the above exposure to the Edcon business process by graduates, Edcon offers a Retail Management Development Programme (three month training) for future store managers recruited with previous management experience from other companies.
Edcon Achievements Edcon has been recognised as an ISOE (Institute of Sectoral Excellence) within the Wholesale and Retail sectors, and is furthermore accredited by SAICA as a learning provider for the provision of articles for qualifying Chartered Accountants.
Apart from staff training, for which Edcon spent about 4,6% of payroll in the 2007/8 financial year, the company also awards bursaries (Steve Ross Bursary) to children of its employees.
The challenge One of the challenges of ERA is to ensure that the group has the necessary competencies to compete both nationally and internationally. In order to achieve this goal the Academy needs to learn faster than its competitors. Technology can be used as a cost effective tool to enable collaboration and knowledge dissemination across the group. For graduate programmes, the biggest challenges facing the academy are the changes in the education landscape, the skills shortage and the quality of graduates. The sustainability of graduate programmes depends on the feeder university qualifications and their relevance to retail in general and fashion retail in particular. The drop-out rate and the retention of those who successfully complete the graduate programmes remains a challenge not only for ERA but for all other companies who have embarked on such initiatives. The Academy needs to implement and sustain sound governance by laying a solid foundation and anticipating and reacting to changes in culture, management expectations, legislation, demands from business and even industry restructuring.
Future plans With its strong focus on developing employees by teaching new skills and competencies, Edcon is one of the leaders in the competitive environment of the fashion retail industry. The Academy spends millions of rands on training each year and in mid 2008 was reconfigured to look at a broad spectrum of learning needs for the group. A decision was then made to register Edcon Retail Academy as a private Further Education and Training (FET) College with the aim of offering a wide range of full additional qualifications in support of the national call to minimise the skills shortage, especially in the retail sector. The ideal situation would be to increase the number of learnerships, graduate programmes, and internships (as well as skills programmes) by providing all Edcon employees and future employees with the relevant skills and knowledge. The shortage of store managers, buyers and planners in South Africa is a major concern to Edcon. Through their retail academy they aim not only to enhance good corporate citizenship but also to add value to socio-economic initiatives like the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition and the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa.