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Lululemon launches free business course for store managers

Lululemon is partnering with Swinburne University of Technology to offer a free diploma of business for store managers, regional managers and training managers.

The online course, which Lululemon is fully funding, is comprised of eight units covering personal skills for leaders, HR and staff management, marketing, operations, finance and strategic skills.

The units have been adapted from Swinburne’s existing course, so content can be immediately applied to participants’ day-to-day work at Lululemon, and employees are able to take the 18-month course on a 21-month time-frame to focus on their business during the busy peak trading period in Q4.

Lululemon Australia and New Zealand managing director Paul Tinkler said the course provides an opportunity for its team leaders to develop long-term retail careers.

“The course reinforces the skills they already demonstrate and addresses any potential gaps in their learning, setting them up for success over the long term,” Tinkler said.

Upskilling on the rise

The move follows a similar partnership between Battery World and TAFE institutions in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria to make it easier for staff to earn a Certificate II qualification in auto electric technology.

The franchisor worked with TAFE to develop an accelerated course that takes into account the practical tasks staff do in-store on a daily basis and offers classes outside of normal office hours, so employees can continue working while earning the qualification.

Battery World expects the tailored courses to lead to an increase in the number of qualified employees in its franchise network and higher staff retention rates, as employees get the opportunity to upskill and feel more valued.

“We know that employees who feel valued and are given the chance to extend their knowledge tend to want to stick with an employer,” Coralee Haskew, Battery World’s operations trainer, told Inside Retail

“It’s not just younger staff who want to extend their skills. We have younger and older staff who want to grow their strength in the business. It’s not just a millennial thing.” 

Further opportunities

The Lululemon x Swinburne diploma of business was offered for the first time this year, with a total of 14 eligible managers commencing study in March. They are expected to graduate at the end of October 2020.

Intake will occur yearly and will be available to Lululemon store managers, regional managers and training managers who have been with the business for a minimum of 12 months.

Following the successful completion of the course, students are eligible to apply for an undergraduate degree with up to eight credits. Store managers who successfully complete the course and have three years of full-time employment will be granted entry into Swinburne’s graduate certificate of business administration, which leads directly into a master of business administration.

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