Young retailers push boundaries

The Professional Retail Programme is structured in a way that provides real world work experience


Graduates from Mr Price Foundation Jump Start Professional Retail Programme find employment at MRP Home

(L to R) Jump Start Professional Retail Programme graduates, Zintle Jonase, Nceba Njanda and Callum Trevarthen, are part of the dynamic MRP Home team and are currently employed as Buyer’s Assistants and Merchandise Allocators.


  • The Professional Retail Programme provides real world work experience

  • Graduates have found employment at major retailers

  • Employers, like MRP Home, have commended the internship and the experience that graduates bring to their workplace

“MRP Foundation’s Jump Start Professional Retail Programme (PRP) gave us great real-world experience. We were exposed to everything we needed to do our actual jobs at any given point,” said Callum Trevarthen, a past PRP graduate who now works as a Trainee Planner at MRP Home.

Under the guidance of highly-experienced professionals from the retail industry, the programme nurtures the skills and potential of young graduates for career positions that include planning, buying and store operations. As the top graduate for the PRP 2019 class, Callum cut his teeth in the ten-month intensive programme, learning the ins and outs of the retail world, before being snapped up by MRP Home. He was one of five graduates employed by MRP Home from the skills development programme, bringing with them a fresh, new energy to the Bathroom team.

For Callum, the most crucial part of the programme was learning about the supply chain, a vital part of his development. “We learnt that there are so many different steps along the way. Once we got to the workplace, this helped us make more calculated decisions, in terms of our positions, and our career paths.”

Adding Value to Retail Employers
As the Professional Programme is structured in a way that provides real world work experience, graduates are actually prepared for the working world and can immediately start adding value to employers. Since the inception of the Professional Retail Programme in 2017, the MRP Home Bathroom division has been extremely supportive, recruiting five graduates thus far.

According to Matthew Morris, Senior Planner for the MRP Home Bathroom division, “Candidates coming through are pushing boundaries and the way we traditionally do things, adding value onto that, and challenging the status quo. They have been very valuable to our team.” He feels that the programme gives graduates a broad spectrum of experiences from being able to see stores, understanding complexities of stores and bringing it back to the positions they are employed in which, “it can help them apply their minds to a problem they identify and approach it with different solutions. Buying assistants and especially allocators are the most critical part of our business.”

Jacky Miller, a Senior Buyer in the MRP Home Bathroom team, elaborated further:

“Part of the success of Jump Start is that these are people who have actually worked in the business and are there to support each other and share their ideas because they are comfortable with each other. I think that graduates come through on passion, value and partnership, which have been instilled in them throughout the programme. You can see their work ethic and you can see how they react to the environment they are in.”

Workplace Learning Prepares Graduates
Nceba Njanda, one of the past PRP graduates, also works as a Merchandise Allocator at MRP Home. He believes that one of the most important things learnt during the ten-month period is that business is not only about making a profit but also about changing many people’s lives. He attributes the success of the programme to the fact that it is designed by retailers for retailers. His advice to future PRP candidates is to, “Spend time with as many people as you can, to learn different things to get a balanced understanding of all the processes involved in specific roles.”

Buyer’s Assistant, Zintle Jonase, relocated from Johannesburg to Durban especially for the PRP programme, and now works alongside her fellow graduates as part of the MRP Home Bathroom Team. On her experience of the retail programme:

“The programme kicked me out of my comfort zone completely. It is only when I actually got into the workplace that all the things I learnt started to make sense as I started to apply them. Not only did we learn professional skills, but we also learnt social and emotional skills. I don’t think there is an internship programme that is as dedicated as the PRP Programme to making the lives of young people better.”

The Professional Retail Programme is designed for graduates with relevant qualifications to pursue a career in retail. The programme is Durban-based, is ten-months, and is open to South African citizens between the ages of 18-33, holding a degree in BCom, Business Management or a Diploma in Retail Business Management. Applications for the next intake will open in 2021.

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