For new Wholesale and Retail Chair, skills development growth is key

The retail sector is identified as an important contributor to local economies. The sector is led by small businesses, but large retailers make a significant contribution to the workforce size and economic performance of the sector. It is, thus, vital to raise its image and to identify and develop skill sets for specific roles in the sector.

This was the sentiment of Dr Beate Stiehler-Mulder, who was officially welcomed as the Wholesale and Retail (W&R) Seta Leadership Chair for Gauteng on 4 July 2022.

Dr Stiehler-Mulder is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing Management, School of Consumer Intelligence & Information Systems in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

“One needs to reimagine business education offerings and explore how the sector can extend its reach with a fresh and exciting approach,” says Dr Stiehler-Mulder, whose key objective is to uplift, develop and ensure the professionalisation of the Retail industry.

She added that the appropriate set of skills is crucial for industry growth. “Skills shortages result when there are too few people with the right set of skills to fill available positions.”

“To this end, I am delighted to announce that as the Chair, we will soon be introducing several exciting online and contact programmes. One of which is a unique fully online Higher Certificate in Retail Business Management. This qualification will be available to all working in Retail and those that have a matric, later in the year.

“This initiative is a first of its kind for the sector, and I’m therefore open to learn, and to take an iterative approach to this – I’m excited to roll this out, but at the same time, I’m even more excited to see what we’ll learn along the way, and how we can bring about change, personal development, knowledge empowerment, growth, but importantly hope for future career prospects,” says Dr Stiehler-Mulder.

In addition to the certification programme, she is also working on the development of professional designations for the Retail industry and concludes: “I am committed to driving this, as I strongly believe that it will play a key part in not only professionalising this sector, but also in serving as acknowledgment and recognition for so many individuals that work in this sector.”

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