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Nov 28, 2008

Training projects develop retail teams

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Gas and welding products group Afrox states that it has invested significant time and resources in enhancing training projects that will develop its retail teams.

The company reports that all its training material has been accredited by its industry's Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) and by the South African Qualifications Authority. Consequently, all qualifications obtained through Afrox in-house training programmes will be recognised qualifications from the National Qualifications Framework level two to level seven.

Further, the company reports that it will be selecting candidates for retail management courses accredited by the University of South Africa, which will be offered in-house from January 2009. This course accumulates credits towards a Bcom degree.

Afrox national retail manager Richard Mkhombo says that the initiatives will assist the company in further development towards becoming a high performance organisation. "Retail teams are the face of Afrox and the company wants to produce appropriately skilled, competent personnel, creating a truly empowered work force. Our vision is to create a mobile team of successful people who are comfortable and fulfilled in their working environment," he adds.

Growing Through Learnerships

Afrox learning and development specialist Nqobile Mthombeni comments that Afrox has a thriving learnership programme that is currently training 13 learners to fill critical areas within the retail business - the learners include five external learners from a Further Education and Training college, two from Afrox Gases operation centre, one from Afrox customer service centre, one from Pretoria West warehouse and four from retail.

Mthombeni says that like other prominent South African companies, Afrox is being challenged by the skills shortage. However, the company is running a programme that is aimed at managing this challenge.

"The learnership programme is taking skills in retail to the next level. Candidates who already hold diplomas in retail or other business qualifications are being recruited externally, as well as from within Afrox's own staff component. Potential candidates are rigorously evaluated to ensure that they have the potential to succeed and deliver a return on this investment in their professional skills," says Mthombeni.

The 12-month learnership programme strikes a good balance, with 60% theory training and 40% practical, on-the-job training. This ensures that learners become productive on the job as quickly as possible once appointed. The course material has been developed by an external provider, the Owl Business Training, and has been accredited by the Wholesale and Retail Seta, which audits the quality of the courses throughout the year.

Edited by: Laura Tyrer
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