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Why Woolies is Dropping $50 Million on Online Retail Education Expansion
Woolworths is planning to drop $50 million to expand its retail transformation alongside its Future of Work Fund, to drive digital growth across Australia.
This fund aims to upskill, reskill and redeploy team members due to the technological advancement from the pandemic. More than 60,000 staff members will be trained over three years to better understand e-commerce operations, the supply chain network and support offices.
The rapidly evolving face of retail is one of the driving reasons why this expansion is needed, said Brad Banducci, the Woolworths Group CEO.
“Around the globe, retail is changing at the fastest pace we’ve seen in many decades,” he said. “Technological advances in automation, predictive analytics, AI and cloud computing are making core retail processes much faster and more efficient than ever before.”
The changes in technology and the advancement of e-commerce are transforming how people work daily, Banducci explained.
“While these changes push our industry forward for the better, they’re also changing the nature of the day to day work many of our people do,” he said. “That’s an exciting prospect on many levels, but it also creates uncertainty. As Australia’s largest private employer, we want to lead on this transition and ensure no team member is left behind by the wave of change we’re all riding.”
The online grocery market has grown exponentially across Australia with the accelerated development of e-commerce.
A recent Roy Morgan report found that supermarkets are the most trusted brands in Australia. The leading supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, are the two most trusted brands, sitting alongside Apple and Microsoft.
“In May last year, we reported that Coles was the fastest mover, lifting three rankings. During the depths of COVID, our data collected between April and September 2020 reveals that Coles jumped another two rankings to be neck and neck with Woolworths in the top two positions,” said Michele Levine, the CEO of Roy Morgan.
The Woolworths Future of Work Fund will take place over three years, and aims to increase the developmental learning for workers in certain skills needed for a robust future in digital retail and other industries.
“The Future of Work Fund is designed to equip our team members with new skills and capabilities that will not only serve their career well within Woolworths, but across a number of industries,” said Banducci.
The online learning platform further expands workers’ skills and capabilities for the future of the digital retail industry.
The key funding areas include the Supply Chain, where existing team members will undergo training in supervisory roles in automation and robotics in the distribution centres across Australia.
The store Operations training will focus on e-commerce, as it continues to expand its digital offering. “Woolworths will increase its focus on e-commerce, customer service and in-store experience as more and more tasks are aided by technological advancements,” the statement read.
The funding’s final key area includes Core Support, where team members will be trained in delivering agile and advanced end-to-end decision-making. Furthermore, developmental training will be made to upskill analytics further and help make use of the latest technology.
“In 2021, we’re the proud employer of more than 200,000 Australians. Despite a wave of technological change ahead, we truly believe we’ll have many more people working in our business by 2030,” Banducci explained.