Shaping Future Retailers

The Professional Retail Programme equips graduates to succeed in the workplace
The MRP Foundation Professional Retail Programme Graduation was held on August 7 2019 equipping 11 graduates to succeed in the workplace

SKILLED RETAILERS: The Professional Retail Programme Graduation was held on August 7 at the Plant Venue in Morningside, Durban. Of the 11 graduates, 7 have already found employment.


Eleven young graduates have been fast-tracked along their career to becoming skilled traders and merchants of the future. Alongside friends, family, suppliers and MRP Foundation staff, these graduates celebrated completing their tough ten-month Professional Retail Programme and toasted to the seven among them who had already found employment at local retailers.

The innovative Professional Retail Programme introduces graduates to the universal principles of retail and its value chain for retail careers in planning, buying and store operations. During the course, graduates had to display a positive attitude, strong resilience and boundless passion for retail — the essential qualities required of a Professional Retailer.

The evening celebrated the successes of all graduates, including the top-performing graduate Durbanite Callum Trevarthen who won The Cutting Edge Award, and runner-up Tetelo Kgaphola, from Limpopo, who scooped The Best Fit Award.

Twenty-four-year-old Callum completed a BCom in Strategic Management before joining the programme. He said:

“Coming out of an academic background, this has been a fast learning curve. This programme really helps you enter the workplace from a tertiary education. We found out what it really means to be a retail company. Visiting and learning about suppliers was critical and it was an honour to spend time with everyone.”

Karen Wells, Head of MRP Foundation, shared her career journey with the graduates and encouraged them for their own journeys ahead:

“Retail gave me a start. I started in a store, with no tertiary education, and had the opportunity to grow. For this programme, we saw the gap between tertiary and what retailers were looking for in terms of future retailers. The programme’s intention is to bridge this gap by creating a pressure-cooker environment.

We wanted to instill a solution-oriented mindset because retail is changing — we don’t want to prepare graduates for the current environment. Our question is, how do we create retailers that understand the whole value chain, from manufacturers all the way into stores? Tonight we celebrate but tomorrow the real work starts!”

Past Alumni have found employment, with 87% of the 33 youth from the last two classes currently in retail positions, with many already being promoted.

MRP Foundation is looking for passionate and committed graduates who are interested in pursuing an exciting career in retail for the next intake of the Professional Retail Programme. The internship takes place in Durban starting January, 2020 and successful candidates must be willing to relocate. Application close midnight October 14, 2019. Spaces are extremely limited.

Interested graduates can apply here.

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