Unlocking potential in the retail world


The MRP Foundation’s Professional Retailers Programme is equipping youth for dynamic career opportunities in the retail industry.


The 2017 Professional Retailer’s class take a break from their engaging lectures at Ambassador House in Durban’s bustling CBD. The ten month retail course, initiated by the MRP Foundation, aims to teach graduates in-demand critical skills for careers in Retail Buying, Planning and Operations Management Development.. PHOTO: TIM LUBBE / MRP FOUNDATION

Twenty-four talented graduates have jumped at the unique opportunity to take part in the MRP Foundation’s Professional Retailers Programme, a course that opens up a wealth of retail career possibilities.

As a youth development organisation the MRP Foundation has a vision to break the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa and empowers young people to reach their full potential through its expansive programmes in education and skills development.


Since 2008 the Foundation has trained over 22,000 previously unemployed youth with over 11,000 of them finding employment in the retail and supply chain sectors due to their work readiness capabilities.


Worryingly high youth unemployment figures in South Africa coupled with a unique perspective on retail industry requirements lead the MRP Foundation to establish the innovative retail course that helps build a bridge between tertiary education and the world of work.


Developed by industry for industry, the Professional Retailers Programme delves into the broader value chain, to offer a more holistic understanding of the industry as well as develop professional  merchants and traders.


Graduates learn in-demand critical skills for the retail industry for careers in Retail Buying, Planning and Operations Management Development by completing a ten month internship that blends classroom and e-learning with five months of rich work experience.


Twenty-four year old Ngubelauga Musawakhe has aspirations to become a retail store manager in the near future. With a DUT Retail Business Management course already under his belt the determined young adult joined the Retail Professional Programme to take the next step in his retail career, one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-paced industries.


“Ever since I was young retail has been my passion,” said an enthusiastic Musawakhe “I helped my uncle at his shop, sold sweets and chips at school and opened a cornershop at high school. When I matriculated I had to decide if I should study or continue working in the shop but I understood that there’s very few chances to be successful if you don't study. I’m the first one in my family of six to go to tertiary education. Retail is a tough industry to be in, from connecting with customers, long hours and making sales, you have to be passionate and it needs to become part of your life.”


Driven by MRP Foundation’s heart to empower South Africa’s youth to reach their full potential the skills development programme not only offers young people the opportunity to start building a career but invests in the local industry.


Karen Wells, MRP Foundation Manager, explains how the Professional Retailers Programme helps the students to understand the many career paths in retail and unlock their career potential:


“Ultimately we are building a talent pipeline of  future retailers with a sustainable mindset, who are solution seekers connected on purpose. My hope for the students is that they apply what they’ve learned to become conscious retailers who positively impact the triple bottom line in the retail industry; socially, economically and environmentally.”