SPAR Cares / W&RSETA School of Excellence (SOE) Launched in KZN

W&RSETA School of Excellence (SOE) Launched in KZN

13 August 2014
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. BE Nzimande, MP, launched the first ever Wholesale and Retail Schools of Excellence for the W&R Sector on the 12th August 2014 at the Esayidi TVET College in Port Shepstone.

SPAR KZN was one of 7 Employer Stakeholders to partner with W&RSETA, Durban University of Technology and 4 FET Colleges in across KZN in this pilot project initiative which will see 500 employed and unemployed learners completing formal retail industry qualifications.

Of these 140 learners will be working in SPAR stores (the biggest employer participant in the project) in order to gain essential workplace experience aligned to their learning programme. 
This equates to R14 Million worth in learner tuition and tax rebates for our SPAR Retailers alone.

SPAR Retail Stores involved in this pilot project include:
1. SUPERSPAR Harbour View
2. SUPERSPAR Shelly Beach
3. SUPERSPAR Umlazi Mega
4. SUPERSPAR Philani Valley Mega
5. SUPERSPARHammersdale Mega
6. SUPERSPAR Hluhluwe

The Minister was ecstatic over this project and assured the W&RSETA and Employers of the Sector of his support, particularly in replicating the project nationally and within other sectors as he believes it is the best approach to addressing skills development; through collaboration. He based his address on one of the famous quotes by the late former President of the Country, Dr. Nelson Mandela,
"It always seems impossible until it is done."

"The SETA is excited by this partnership with our stakeholder companies and institutions of learning, as we are heeding the call by the Minister for collaboration between these role players in skills development, which has been a challenge in the past. This collaboration will ensure articulation between universities and colleges and further address the stigma that colleges are a fall back education option," said Joel Dikgole, CEO of W&RSETA.

This project will further ensure that the wholesale and retail sector is provided with suitably qualified and experienced pool of students to address scarce and critical skills within the Sector. Job creation and entrepreneurship will be some of the added benefits of the project.

The SOE's are a result of collaboration between the KZN Stakeholder companies, such as SPAR and institutions of learning to among other achieve the following:
  • Professionalise the W&R Sector;
  • Develop competent, skilled and experienced learners that meet the requirements of the Sector;
  • Collaboration between the Sector, institutions of higher learning (Universities) and Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to develop and implement programmes that respond to the scarce and critical skills of the Wholesale and Retail Sector;
  • Forge Public Private Partnerships
The Minister also commended the W&RSETA and its stakeholders for this initiative, and referred to the role players as trailblazers in the industry.

In addition, the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) will launching the Wholesale and Retail Schools of Excellence project. Delegates from the W&RSETA, stakeholders and the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande will attend the event.

The project is launched in KwaZulu-Natal, in partnership with wholesale and retail companies, technical vocational education and training colleges and the Durban University of Technology. It will be rolled out within identified learning institutions in the KwaZulu-Natal province initially with the aim of promoting collaboration between the wholesale and retail sector and institutions of learning.

"The SETA is excited by this partnership with our stakeholder companies and institutions of learning, as we are heeding the call by the Minister for collaboration between these role players in skills development, which has been a challenge in the past. This collaboration will ensure articulation between universities and colleges and further address the stigma that colleges are a fall back education option," said Joel Dikgole, CEO of W&RSETA.

The overall approach of the Schools of Excellence will be to incorporate the work based learning programmes (WBLP) to the development of skills in the sector and will result in the enhancement of infrastructure within the public TVET colleges. So far, 500 students have been enrolled on the National Certificate: Wholesale and Retail Chain Store Operations on the NQF Level 2, an encouraging start to the project. Qualifications at higher levels are currently being developed to ensure that the learners can progress from the TVET to university system. This project will further ensure that the wholesale and retail sector is provided with suitably qualified and experienced pool of students to address scarce and critical skills within the Sector.

Job creation and entrepreneurship will be some of the added benefits of the project. The SETA will be making its footprint in rural development, as learners from three colleges in rural areas and townships of Port Shepstone, Nongoma and Madadeni will benefit from the project.

The participating companies are:

1. Boxer Superstores
2. SPAR
3. Decorland
4. MassDiscounters
5. Mass Cash
6. Check Out
7. FG Knights

The participating learning institutions are:

1. Durban University of Technology
2. Mthashana TVET College (Nongoma)
3. Majuba TVET College (Newcastle)
4. Esayidi TVET College (Port Shepstone)
5. Thekwini TVET College (Durban)

The W&RSETA aims to roll out this project nationally to make a significant contribution towards this collaboration.

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