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Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Retail training package to aid business

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The South Australian Government says a new $2.2 million retail training package will help businesses develop a skilled workforce to weather the economic storm.

The package, funded by the State and Federal Governments and the retail industry, will upgrade the skills of up to 220 existing retail managers.

The Training Minister, Michael O’Brien, says the smartest move that businesses can make is to keep their most talented staff.

“We will come out of this recession and generally the path that is followed in coming out of a recession is a fairly ferocious upswing and there’s an enormous demand for staff and skilled staff in a very short period of time,” he said.

“What we will achieve through this program is allow particularly young people to move through the ranks in the retail sector up to management positions.”

Learn Skills expands into Retail and Hospitality training with Didasko partnership

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

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23/01/2009 – Ireland – Learn Skills is delighted to annouce it’s latest partnership with Didasko, the Australia innovative learning solutions provider of engaging interactive multimedia resources.  For 11 years, Didasko has been a leading developer of high quality Learner and Trainer resources for the vocational, education and training industry.
They specialise in the service sectors of Hospitality, Retail and Asset Maintenance and their comprehensive resources and systems for the training provider, teachers and students delivers superior learning, operational and marketing outcomes.  Didasko Learning Resources currently provides resources to leading international universities, domestic and international colleges, training organisations, hospitality and retail groups, corporate sector and secondary schools with vocational programs.

Learn Skills shall spearhead Didasko’s expansions plans into Europe focused on both Retails and Hospitality Unit.  This comprehensive range of courses shall be made available both on-line and also when required in CD-Rom format.  With over 100 on-line courses each supported by both a Learner Guide and Training Delivery Guide to deliver the first complete solution for Retail and Hospitality education and training in Europe. These comprehensive resources and systems for training providers, teachers and students deliver superior learning outcomes and improved operational and marketing effectiveness.

For Education and Training providers:
• The full package – from curriculum to delivery and assessment
• Tailored ordering and packaging for each student
• Low flat rate / unit
• Customised branding of the materials
• Distribution options – CD-ROM, PDF, USB, on-line
• Easy online ordering 24/7
• Just in Time delivery – all orders despatched within 48 hours

For Teachers and Trainers:

• Comprehensive tools support teacher compliance and learner
management :
(Training and Assessment plans, Learner contact logs, Competency
Assessment Matrix, Employability Self Assessment, Skills Demonstration
Training record)
• Use of multiple “adult learning” principles
• Greater focus on delivery and student centric

For Students:

• Tailored customised packaging of learner units
• Engaging interactive multimedia (text, graphics, animation, sound,
video and self assessments)
• Underpinning knowledge is gained
• Extensive glossaries and recipe files within the units
• Self evaluation worksheets
• Supports all student learning categories – ESL or learning difficulties

Service Skills Australia Welcomes New Government- Industry Training Partnerships in Retail

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Service Skills Australia welcomes the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, The Hon. Julia Gillard’s announcement that the Government will fund half the cost of training for existing workers of two of Australia’s largest retail organisations under the Productivity Places Program.
Service Skills Australia, the Industry Skills Council for the service industries, will work with Woolworths and Westfield to deliver training to existing workers under the program.  The announcement is particularly welcome for the retail trade, an industry in which nearly two  thirds of workers do not hold post-school qualifications and at a time of economic uncertainty.
“The retail industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage of suitably qualified staff who wish to
pursue a life-long career within the retail industry” CEO Jeanette Allen said.
“The Productivity Places Program will greatly assist both Westfield and Woolworths to retain their existing staff and allow them to move into future management roles”.
“This in turn creates new employment prospects for entry level positions, and will increase the
businesses productivity levels, and increase workforce participation”.
Westfield will have seventy-five employees trained in a Diploma of Retail Management and Woolworths will train a total of 103 employees at Certificate III in Retail and forty-two employees in a Certificate IV in Retail. The retail industry is the largest employing industry in Australia, with more than 1.5 million workers, 15% of the Australian workforce.
Background
Earlier this year, Service Skills Australia (SSA) was offered an opportunity to submit an expression of interest to Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations from interested employers that would be prepared to participate in a pilot program to train existing workers in skill shortages areas under the Productivity Places Program.
SSA in collaboration with their industry partners, made a number of submissions at this time and in late October, SSA received correspondence that confirmed the Commonwealth was prepared to match the employer contribution up to 50% of the cost of training. Formal applications were submitted last month from a range of service sector employers that were interested in training their existing workforce to improve workplace productivity and participation.

E-learning helps USA retailers dump classrooms for the anywhere, anytime Internet

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

By Elizabeth Gardner

USA – 1st March, 2008 – Walk into a City Furniture store in Florida on a slow morning and you’re likely to find a store associate at his computer. It may look like he’s web surfing, but he’s probably brushing up on his knowledge of couch construction or crib safety standards using the retailer’s e-learning system. For the past year, the 15-store chain has been moving its employee training away from classrooms and paper manuals and onto the Internet.

With stores all over south Florida, City Furniture’s 1,100 employees are far flung. “Imagine how challenging it is to get people to come an hour north, or two hours south, or an hour west, for a full-day training session,” says Janet Wincko, director of recruiting and learning. “Every moment they’re driving here and sitting in a class, they’re not selling.” And for employees in the 24/7 distribution center, scheduling classroom training to fit everyone’s odd hours is an additional challenge.

With e-learning, employees can complete little chunks of training; anything from five minutes for a quick briefing on a new product to a 20-minute module on store procedures, whenever they have a spare moment. Their reward is anything from lavish praise to bonuses or promotions. City Furniture’s reward is more training completed at less expense and potentially lower employee turnover and higher sales.

Internet-based e-learning is transforming how stores train their employees, whether it’s how to fold a sweater, how to deal with an angry customer or how to work the point-of-sale system. And sometimes that point-of-sale screen carries the lesson of the day.

“First-tier retailers: those with more than $2 billion in annual sales, all have embraced e-learning”, says Sunita Gupta, executive vice president at the LakeWest Group, a retail consulting firm. It recently completed a survey of 100 top retailers, and more than 70% said better training of store personnel was their top priority.

“Among second tier retailers: those with $500 million to $2 billion in sales, adoption of e-learning varies, and it’s most often used to introduce new technologies or programs”, Gupta adds.

Because e-learning systems are often available as a hosted solution and companies can pay per user, retailers of any size can potentially benefit, says Don Cook, senior vice president of marketing at Learn.com Inc., which includes about 30 retailers, including City Furniture, among its 500 e-learning clients. “We target the mid-market, between 10,000 and 30,000 employees is our sweet spot, but our biggest growth area is companies with less than 1,000,” he says. “Small companies should take training seriously. When you have three stores, it’s easier to develop a training system than if you wait until you have 50 or 100.”

Computer-based training has been around since all screens were black with green letters. The rise of the commercial Internet has made networked computers ubiquitous and inexpensive, giving retailers the ability to easily link trainees with centralized training. And the evolution of Internet technology has spawned a toolbox of presentation techniques as useful for developing training materials as they are for creating flashy web sites. Course developers can choose online video, Internet gaming techniques and other tools that appeal to the young people who form the backbone of many retailers’ sales forces. And those forces can take their training at any Internet-connected computer whenever it’s convenient, whether during a lull at the store or at home in their jammies.

“Retailers realize that e-learning offers a better toolset than traditional training,” Gupta says. “It’s interactive. They can add remedial sections if someone is taking longer than usual to understand something. They can be creative with learning protocols. And they can test as they go to gauge a person’s progress.”

Last year, Hudson’s Bay Co., one of Canada’s largest retailers with more than 580 locations and 50,000 to 70,000 employees depending on the season, realized a two-fold increase in the number of online training courses completed by employees, says Jason Hubbard, senior manager of e-learning and virtual classroom.

His in-house staff of five has produced dozens of e-learning courses over the past four years, not only on specific products and store procedures but also on personal growth topics like dealing with stress and improving language skills. Each course takes about three weeks to create and 15 to 20 minutes for a learner to complete. Hudson’s Bay employees completed more than 160,000 courses in 2007.

And often they revisit those courses for a refresher. “Any trainer will tell you that when someone gets training for a whole day, they’re overwhelmed and don’t remember everything they’ve learned,” Hubbard says. “With this system, you can go online to review specific things. If I do a spreadsheet once a month and I’ve forgotten how to do a PivotTable, I can use the Excel course as a reference tool.”

The courses run on a learning management system from GeoLearning Inc. GeoLearning hosts the system, which provides a platform not only for delivering the courses but for tracking participation and assessing the overall “skill health” of individual employees. The learning management system can serve as a general employee development tool for human resources departments, says Will Hipwell, GeoLearning’s senior vice president of product development.

E-learning can help geographically dispersed organizations develop a common corporate identity, says Angela Vazquez, director of instructional design at AMC Theatres, which operates 300 movie theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company has been using e-learning for about four years. Its system provides courses for about 2,700 employees, including line managers at theaters. Vazquez plans to roll out courses this year for the 20,000 crew-level employees, the ones who pop the popcorn and clean between the seats.

“Having a centralized training function at the home office really helps us standardize and share our culture with remote locations,” Vazquez says. Each course uses the same branded template to give a consistent look and feel.

Face to face?

However, some subjects are still best taught in person, especially if they involve role-playing or lots of personal interaction, says Hudson’s Bay’s Hubbard. But even then, e-learning can streamline the process.

“A class that might have run a full day before can now run half a day because you can play around with the material a little bit online before the course and do follow-up online,” he says. City Furniture, Hudson’s Bay and AMC all use some classroom training in addition to e-learning for a blended approach.

Costs for e-learning vary widely, and the return on investment is sometimes difficult to identify, especially in the first few years when a company is incurring substantial expenses to set up a system and develop courses.

When City Furniture’s Janet Wincko was selling management on e-learning, she stayed away from squishy projections on increased sales or reduced turnover and stuck to the obvious. “Paying a dollar to an instructional designer is comparable to paying a dollar to an instructor,” she says. “But I have to pay the instructor every time he teaches a class, and I only have to pay the designer once.”

For Hudson’s Bay, direct return on its overall e-learning investment isn’t a primary concern, Hubbard says. Sales and management staff have to be trained one way or another, and his most important metric is successful course completions (defined as not only being exposed to the course, but passing the post-course test with an 80% score or better). Nonetheless, he can point to cases where introducing a course on a specific product: for example, digital cameras has resulted in increased sales. “Associates are much more likely to sell something when they’re knowledgeable about the product.”

In general, benefits from e-learning are significant, especially when viewed enterprisewide, some experts say.

“It’s hard to measure what you get back from having sales associates who can actually assist customers,” says LakeWest Group’s Gupta. “But many corporate initiatives fail because the execution doesn’t happen at the store level.”

Source: InternetRetailer.com

Elizabeth Gardner is a Riverside, Ill.-based freelance business writer.

Learn Skills aims to have a comprehensive range of essential skills and compliance training for the Retail Sector available soon, for both individuals and large groups of employees and learners.