Retailers Invest in Branded Education to Source Talent
Smart brands are filling their own skills gaps by turning ‘edu-enabler’ – establishing higher education courses to meet their specific needs, and giving students a less costly, more vocational and perk-filled path to success than traditional programmes.
Here, we review a rising wave of ‘branded universities’ nurturing retail’s future workforce.
- Zalando – Cultivating Sector-Specific Talent: German fashion e-tailer Zalando has collaborated with ISM (International School of Management) – one of the best private business schools in the country – on an E-commerce Logistics bachelor’s programme. During the three-year course, students benefit from alternating theoretical seminars at the school, and practical three-month work periods within Zalando – a ‘yo-yo’ format that aims to encourage the application of academic knowledge in the work environment.
Courses cover logistics and transport management, sourcing and supply-chain administration, finance control and economics, as well as foreign languages. There is also a compulsory semester abroad. Zalando pays the tuition fee of €27,438 ($30,888) as well as travel costs, and also offers perks such as discounts on products (40%) and canteen lunches (50%). The first course starts in October 2017, with Zalando aiming to hire talented graduates in entry-level roles.
- Dyson – Nurturing Next-Gen Tech Engineers: British electronics brand Dyson has partnered with research-focused Warwick University in Coventry, UK on a four-year bachelor’s degree in engineering.
The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology will be located at the company’s Wiltshire headquarters, and was devised to help the technology firm double its engineering workforce to 6,000 by 2020 – filling a predicted skills shortage. Students will not pay any fees; instead, they’ll be given a competitive salary (increasing each year), benefit from a staff bonus and discount scheme, and gain hands-on experience by working alongside engineers on upcoming products in Dyson’s research and development department.
Academic training is provided by the University of Warwick on-site. Dyson will retain those graduates who continue to meet post-grad grade levels as well as key performance objectives on the job. The first 25 students will start in September 2017.
- Yoox Net-A-Porter – Luxury Academia Feeds Digital Skills Gap: Combating Italy’s shortfall in digital e-commerce talent, Italian luxury fashion group Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has joined forces with two of the country’s most prestigious business schools: SDA Bocconi, which focuses on research and post-experience education, and Bologna Business School.
In January 2017, it announced a partnership with SDA Bocconi on a new Digital Strategy, Marketing and E-commerce course, which is set to form part of the 2017 edition of the Master in Fashion, Experience and Design Management (MAFED) programme. Students will learn both the strategic aspect of managing a fashion business, as well as the fundamentals of digital marketing, smart data, e-commerce and customer experience.
YNAP managers give lectures and present case studies. Establishing the reality of the job, the luxury retailer will task a group of students with a consultancy project, with the results being presented directly to the company. Several MAFED students will be invited to enrol in the YNAP internship programme after graduating.
Its collaboration with Bologna Business School has forged the European Centre of Managerial Education – dedicated to cultivating professional web analysts, web-marketing specialists, big-data specialists, e-commerce managers and online store managers. The course will also provide training and lectures from SDA Bocconi, plus guest steerage from digital innovation heavyweights including Boston Consulting Group, Google, GroupM (the world’s largest media investment group), IBM and advertising/PR giant WPP.
For more on this topic – specifically how brands are catering to consumers’ increasing desire for professional optimisation – see The Luxury Academia Playbook in Re-Engineering Exclusivity, Apple San Fran: Glocal Edutainment, The Future of Learning, Impatient Upskillers and Topshop Turns Educator.