I have been privileged to have been involved with the Retail Store Manager Qualification NQF 6 (RSM) since its inception at the Cape Peninsula of Technology (CPUT) 3 years ago. It all started when Training Fundamentals was awarded the tender to develop the material for the 3-year programme and afterwards as facilitator and mentor.
We are now in the third year and the remaining 27 students, from an initial 49, are going strong down the final run to the finish line. This year they complete the remaining subjects: Financial management, Risk and asset management and supply chain and logistics; at the same time, they are working on their work experience logbook, in all an awesome task ahead for full-time retailers and part-time university students! In November, they write the final exams but, it’s not all over, because, in order to obtain the QCTO qualification, they have to sit for a four-hour external examination at an independent assessment centre.
All praise must go to the participating employers who have allowed the participating students to attend lectures 3 days a month and time off to study. Hear the sound of massive applause for Spar, Food Lovers Market, Shoprite, Woolworths and Steinbuild.
The RSM is the first NQF level 6 qualification and the first QCTO (Qualifications Council for Trades and Occupations) retail qualification to be accredited. Others have since been accepted. The credit value currently is 507. There are 9 subjects spread over 3 years.
CPUT was accredited as the first provider by the WRSETA and QCTO to conduct this qualification as a pilot. Lessons have been learned and a recent evaluation has been conducted based on the pilot and certain revisions are being made to decrease the credit value, provide better integration of learning curriculum outcomes and streamline the facilitation processes. Edutel has also been accredited as an additional provider for the RSM.
Although other tertiary institutions have shown an interest, none has so far taken any steps to offer this qualification, besides CPUT through the Retail and Wholesale Leadership Academy. This is a pity, as currently in South Africa, retail education is fragmented and seldom ending in full qualifications. We have a plethora of abbreviations: MDP’s. RDP, DDP’s MRP’s RMDP’s and on it goes. In Europe, especially Germany, Retail studies are driven by universities and colleges and these are at the forefront of developing retail talent. Sadly, in this country, the picture is very different.
CPUT is the only South African University with a dedicated Retail Business department and fully supports the Retail Store Manager qualification.
The Retail Store Manager Qualification: Occupational Certificate (Qual. ID 91789) is, I believe, The best retail qualification available in this country. It provides the most comprehensive foundation and training available. Big chain, mid-sized retailers and national franchisors should be lining up to place their talented current managers, buyers, merchandisers, planners, supply chain managers and others on to this programme. Here they will learn about strategy and implementation from qualified lecturers with industry experience in a university environment using top-level learning technologies and provided with professional support and mentoring for the full three years of the programme.
However, the RSM Qualification is currently poorly marketed and mostly unknown. I wonder if there are any CEO’s who are even aware of the RSM? Those who direct the learning and development space in retail organisations should be better informed and be willing to request the funding from the W&R for this qualification, or self-fund if the need for upskilling and empowering is as critical as it is said to be.
It’s time for Retail Learning and Development Managers to become innovative and ambitious and think big in terms of their goals for their organisations. The RSM needs to continue and is waiting for other retailers to pick up the baton and lead with empowering and growing our retail talent.
I have seen the most amazing potential unfold amongst our small cadre of current students. I have asked a small sample to send me their experiences. Read about these below.
If you are keen to find out more, contact Robyn at CPUT: 021 464 7260 or your local W&R regional office, or you can even contact me.
My experience on this RSM course has been one huge eye-opener. I’m privileged enough to be in a store environment where I have now been exposed to a lot more than a simple admin clerk would ordinarily be exposed to. This is the first time I have been able to get into company financials and shareholder meetings which I have found very interesting.
Working and studying has been one crazy mission to find a balance between work and life. As hard as an adjustment it has been, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I believe it takes a special kind of person to be a retailer, driven, dedicated and passionate. It involves hard work and in most cases, you set the pace.
In 2016 I was one a few retail staff that were enrolled to study at CPUT, a National RSM Diploma (Retail Store Manager).
The first two years has been hard, juggling between work, family and studies has been a rollercoaster. At times I felt like throwing in the towel. Thank God for my family, my manager & facilitators support, without them I surely would have kicked the bucket.
Where to from here I asked myself. Being exposed to various elements of the retail sector, one thing the RSM course helped me with, is finding myself in this craze.
My aim God willing is to challenge myself and specialise in supply chain and risk management. I have come this far, it will just be foolish to not press on to the finish line.
In today’s world, being part of the retail industry is inevitable. Whether you find yourself in the consumer or the retailers’ hemisphere, you have part and influence on retail. The past 50 years the retail industry went through an enormous growth spurt, which affected the everyday life of human beings.
Being part of and pioneering a retail course forever changed the way that I see retail. It creates a space where younger retailers from all major companies can interact and understand the industry from all angles. However, understanding the principles of retail will always be important. The understanding of the ever-changing trends and awareness of the footprint that retail leaves in the world, is integral to the complete understanding of this industry today.
CPUT RSM course is the full package. Therefore, I would recommend this course to those enthusiastic people that want to be part of the fastest growing industry in the world.
Good Morning Larry
As a store manager in 2016, when I was approached to attend the RSM programme, I couldn’t understand my employers reason for wanting me to attend, as I thought I knew all there was to know about retail, after all, I started as a casual in retail and worked my way up to Store Manager, acquiring a vast amount of experience in the field.
Over the past 2 and a half years of having attended lectures, I was clearly proven wrong, I certainly didn’t know all there was to know about retail. It only dawned on me then that as a store manager, I was merely an implementation manager, not understanding the reasons behind big business decisions, or how my decisions as a store manager impacted my workforce. But now I have a better understanding of the detail that goes into retail. And as simple as Retail may sound, sell an item to make a profit, there’s so much more to that simple statement that this course has enlightened me on.
A year and a half into the programme, having applied the knowledge I gained and having made better business decisions, I was promoted to regional manager, and at that, of the biggest region my company has and nothing compares to knowing that I’m now making strategic decisions that affect the broader business.
Having to work and study is not easy as it requires a lot of juggling, self-discipline, dedication and sacrifices. The workload is extensive, the exams are nerve wrecking and the POE is enough to make you want to run but break it all down and tackle it one problem at a time and at the end lies success.
In retrospect, I have no regrets of having accepted the invite to study, and the biggest learning aside from the content of the course is, that no matter how high up we are in our respective fields, we don’t always know all that there is about a job that occupies most of our time. It is only through programmes like this, that our gaps are identified and bridged.
 NQF level 6 is equivalent to a national diploma or an advanced certificate.