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ARA pushes for skills training


pencil, paper, study, learningThe Australian Retailers Association (ARA)  says retail skills training must be made a priority in 2014, following the release of a new report by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency in partnership with the Industry Skills Council, Service Skills Australia.

ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman, said the report, which is focused on Australia’s retail industry, finds new technologies and changing consumer demand are creating exciting new retail career opportunities and stronger demand for retail skills training.

“Employment in the retail industry, which already employs over 1.2 million workers across 140,000 businesses, is likely to grow by 8.9 percent over the next five years,” Zimmerman said.

“The ARA has long campaigned to put the importance of skills training under the spotlight, and we are pleased to see this report emphasises the fact that retail managers will need new skills in developing innovative business models and high end ICT solutions if they wish to be successful in the future.

“This study also finds the retail industry is transforming in response to forces such as globalisation, new forms of competition, new technologies and the growth of online sales, and changing economic conditions and consumer preferences.

“With the support of the government, we must up skill our retail workforce, including retail managers, so they can embrace these changes and ensure their businesses remain viable while also supporting career pathways for both current and future employees.

“The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency advises the Australian government on the nation’s current, emerging and future skills and workforce development needs – making this report an extremely valuable piece of research.

“As a key member of the Retail workforce study’s reference group, I wasn’t surprised to see the report suggest the future of retail lies in offering a seamless mix of physical and online shopping channels and customer experiences, and that its workforce needs higher levels of digital literacy, deeper levels of knowledge on products, and more sophisticated interpersonal skills to achieve this.”

The Retail workforce study report will be online on 2 March 2014 at and

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