SPAR Training Academies

The importance of people in the overall success of the SPAR business has always been appreciated. Many of our SPAR Partners have educational training programmes for employee development, providing tools for continual improvement and adapting to modern training standards. Below are a few examples of successful training academies within SPAR.

SPAR Austria

SPAR Austria is the largest private employer in the country with 41,200 employees and 2,400 apprentices. Every year, apprentices from nearly 20 skilled trades undergo training at SPAR. SPAR Austria’s education programme follows government standards in retail education. The SPAR Academy based in Vienna is a recognised learning institute in Austria. It is aligned to the government education programme with a focus on food retailing. The benefit of the SPAR Vienna Academy is that training can be conducted from a SPAR point of view and all practical training can take place at SPAR facilities. All SPAR Academy students are employed by SPAR for a total of three years. After this, they can choose to stay with SPAR or work elsewhere.

A recent initiative of SPAR Austria’s has been the development of a training programme for professional athletes. The three-year training programme is specifically designed for athletes with an extensive sports training schedule. The athletes are able to maintain their training routines whilst gaining valuable work experience in the food retail industry.

SPAR South Africa

SPAR South Africa provides employees with development opportunities, including leadership programmes and training, empowering them to improve their skills and pursue more senior roles. SPAR also trains unemployed youth to create a talent pool for retailers.

SPAR South Africa’s Academy of Learning has embarked on an online learning program. The platform was developed out of a specific need for learners to connect with each other and share knowledge and ideas. The program has all the materials that learners need and offers them the chance to have forum discussions. Learners receive their assignments in the form of a blog and then upload their assignments electronically.

In 2015, a number of high-level study programmes to do with Management Development and Leadership were rolled out. The online training addresses wider topics to do with cashier training, fruit & veg and specialist departments such as butchery and bakery.

Continuous improvement of the SPAR vehicle fleet is a core focus over the long term. Initiatives include driver training, with associated assessments and remuneration incentives, to improve fuel efficiency. Furthermore, 507 employees also received health and safety training in 2015.

SPAR Norway

In 2014, SPAR Norway developed and launched an online training tool called SPARSim, a simulated e-learning course for retail employees that has engaged colleagues across the country. The objective of this training program is to empower employees to inform themselves, take initiative and better execute their jobs. The online solution was developed as a way of reaching all employees in an efficient and cost-effective way.

More than 10,000 SPAR Norway colleagues have completed the first modules with 81% of trainees reporting that it has had an improvement on their performance. The SPARSim training program has seen such great results that the SPAR Norway team has developed new training modules that enhance game play and are accessible on all iPhone and Android devices. The program has helped SPAR Norway live up to the challenge of a changing business with the ultimate goal of ensuring a good shopping experience for the customer.


The business has developed the SPAR Virtual Academy, a user-friendly and comprehensive online resource dedicated to providing the latest and most complete retail and SPAR specific information to retailers. SPAR UK’s Virtual Academy covers a huge range of topics, providing news, information and help in an easily downloaded format. The areas covered include: Finance, HR, Store Services and Marketing and Promotions.

The SPARKling Service, first launched in 2008, is a training tool available for the development of SPAR UK retail teams. Through the Train-the-Trainer package, it is possible for retailers to give the training instore or the teams can use the self e-learning programs and complete training when it suits them. The focus is on continuous improvement and community involvement, a core value of SPAR.

SPAR Netherlands

 The SPAR Netherlands Academy was designed with the possibility for learners to achieve a recognised diploma at MBO-2 (basic vocational training). The training programme is not only based on theory and e-learning, but is combined with an improvement programme on the shop floor and inspirational meetings with suppliers.

There are three modules:

  1. The introductory module My SPAR. In this section, students are informed about the history, formats, values and objectives of SPAR.
  2. In the module Good Foundation, attention is given to the overall care of the store, the cashier, security and first aid.
  3. In the last module, aptly named Fresh, the management and presentation of the various fresh departments are dealt with.

SPAR Botswana


SPAR Botswana launched its Academy of Learning towards the end of 2015. In recognising that the knowledge and skills of employees can define its advantage over the competition, SPAR Botswana saw the need to create its own specialised training school to provide departmental teams with both theoretical and hands-on training.

The Academy features a world-class training facility with state-of-the-art equipment and test kitchens that ensure colleagues acquire practical skills in butchery, bakery, catering and fresh produce management.

The Academy, which will ensure that employees have the knowledge and tools required to fulfil their roles and grow within the business, was developed in partnership with the Botswana Qualifications Authority, an experienced team involved in ensuring that the training programmes are accredited and meet the required standards.