New Zealand Management Academies (NZMA) is now offering the ideal qualification to kick-start a career in retail.
The private training provider, which specialises in hospitality, business and contact centre programmes, recently began delivering NZQA-accredited retail qualifications as well. The National Certificate in Retail Level 3 kicked off at NZMA’s Auckland South Academy in March, and was launched at their Waikato Academy a fortnight later. In a few short weeks, the course will also be available at NZMA’s Auckland Central and Auckland West Academies.
“This is one of the newer industry training courses in New Zealand and it will give graduates of the programme a competitive advantage over other non-trained applicants,” says NZMA Programme Coordinator Belinda MacGregor. Belinda, who has 11 years of retail experience behind her, believes this “edge” can be crucial in today’s competitive job market.
“There has been a big push from some of the larger retailers for people to get this qualification in order to recognise industry skills. This qualification is about recognising that retail is a job that people want to do as a profession, not just a job on the way to something else.
“The industry has changed enormously over the past ten years. Staff used to just be able to turn up to work and take customers’ money. But these days, things are a lot more complicated. Cash registers are computerized so staff need to have the skills to use them and shoppers are a lot more savvy with much higher expectations. Lots of people go and try something on in a retail store and then go home and purchase it online for cheaper. Retail assistants need to have great sales skills to ensure they don’t lose customers in this way.”
In the past many people have launched their retail careers without any qualifications whatsoever. However Belinda believes that more and more, today’s employers are looking to take on those who have undergone relevant training and are equipped with the right skills.
“We believe people will have a much better chance of getting a job in retail – both in larger companies as well as with smaller retailers - if they have this qualification. It’s designed to help people build retail careers. Students build on their customer service skills as they learn more about managing sales and stock. They also learn to manage customer feedback and legislation.”
Not surprisingly the new course is proving popular.
“Some of the students that have enrolled with us were already working in retail but were looking to improve their skills, while others are complete newcomers to the industry. We also have several students who have joined us with strong customer service skills from their previous employment, such as hospitality, but are looking for a change in direction.”
The 20 week course is delivered by tutors who have strong retail backgrounds and extensive experience in senior retail roles. The curriculum covers areas such as sales, retail skills, customer service and maintaining stock. It also provides opportunities for students to participate in retail work experience during their studies. NZMA Waikato has developed a relationship with Volunteering Waikato which has opened up a number of work experience opportunities for students. NZMA’s Auckland South Academy is currently looking at a similar initiative with Volunteering Auckland.
Like all NZMA graduates, students on this course also have access to a range of employment assistance including Redfish support. Redfish is the employment service set up to help NZMA students and graduates find great jobs.