Coles and Deakin University have joined forces to create an academic program focused on developing the skills of retailing, which can be used as credit towards an MBA qualification.
The ‘mini-MBA’ in strategic category management includes a program focused on retail-specific, technical skills and accounts for 33 per cent of the academic requirements for a fully-fledged MBA from Deakin.
The program, which will be made available to current Coles category managers, has been designed to strengthen supermarket giant’s commercial operations and provide team members with pathways to further tertiary education.
Coles Chief Executive Commercial and Express, Greg Davis, said the mini-MBA would provide category managers with industry-leading training.
“Category Management is all about end-to-end retailing, managing every aspect of the customer offer from farm to fork,” he said.
“It encompasses strategic supplier engagement, supply chain optimisation and ensures we have a compelling and tailored offer across all our customer channels.
“The Category Management role is highly specialised and until now, there hasn’t been an academic qualification to provide the matching skill set, so we’re thrilled to have worked with the team at Deakin to create this program.”
Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the university was prioritising innovative new industry partnerships as employers increasingly sought workers with specialised skill sets paired with the interpersonal and leadership skills required in the modern workplace.
“This collaboration between Coles and Deakin demonstrates how powerful and direct the link can be between the workforce and higher education,” Martin said.
“The course combines practical, workplace experience with the rigour of an MBA,” he said.
The course will be delivered by the university’s specialist workplace education division DeakinCo.
It is designed to build on employees’ existing capabilities with new skills and training that allow them to obtain industry-recognised qualifications.