Coles and Deakin create specialist academic program in retailing skills

Media release

19 April 2021

Coles and Deakin University have joined forces to create an academic program focused specifically on developing the skills of retailing, which can be used as credit towards a sought-after Master of Business Administration 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 bespoke program, which will be made available to current Coles category managers, has been designed to strengthen Coles' commercial operations and provide team members with pathways to access further tertiary education.

Coles Chief Executive Commercial and Express, Greg Davis, said the mini-MBA will provide category managers with industry-leading training, and ensure Coles continues to be a great place to work and build a career in retail.

"Investing in team member development is central to our Win Together strategy and to increasing team engagement; our team are excited about how relevant this program is to their current and prospective roles," he said.

"At Coles, Category Management is all about end-to-end retailing, managing every aspect of the customer offer from farm to fork. 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 is 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. 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., leveraging their expertise in innovative education, including digital and online delivery and collaboration. It will build on employees' existing capabilities with new skills and training that allow them to obtain industry-recognised qualifications.

"DeakinCo. is one of our key conduits to industry and they are leaders in workplace education and skill recognition. We are delighted to partner with Coles to deliver formal training that is both industry-focused and underpinned by the best in learning theory and design," Professor Martin said.

DeakinCo. Executive Director and CEO Glenn Campbell said: "This really is an exciting opportunity for current and future Coles team members to take advantage of a truly contemporary approach to workplace learning that is flexible and accessible and recognises existing knowledge, experience and capability, via the completion of a series of our workplace credentials."

About Coles
Coles employs over 118,000 team members across more than 2,500 retail stores including supermarkets, liquor stores and convenience stores. Founded as a single store in Melbourne's Collingwood in 1914, Coles is now one of the 30 largest companies on the ASX.

About DeakinCo.
DeakinCo., a division of Deakin University are workplace education and skills recognition specialists. DeakinCo. help individuals and organisations evaluate and recognise current skills and capability, identity and rectify gaps and build new skills, and provide pathways to higher level qualifications that further strengthen employment skills and career options.

Media contact
Jeremy Blackman 
Senior Advisor, Strategic Communications
Deakin University
m. 0438 066 625 

Share this story

Share this story

More like this

Media release