Investing in people: DESPAR Maiora’s training academy

August 8, 2019 IN THE CATEGORY: People

SPAR Italy Partner, Maiora, runs a large training facility that provides employees with the skills and knowledge needed both at retail and office level, allowing for professional growth and development within the company.

In the space of just over three years, Maiora has invested €3.5 million in the Academy, training more than 1,000 people. In order to provide specialised coaching, 65 different courses are offered, given by both internal and external trainers.

The DESPAR Academy offers a mix of theory sessions in a classroom environment, and practical workshops on the shop floor. The training modules include product knowledge, merchandising, food preparation and safety, as well as courses to do with people skills and customer service, or content creation and social media marketing.

In 2018, the DESPAR Academy trained 520 people at an investment of €1.2 million, supported by regional and EU funds that are granted for accomplished training programmes.

Maiora also rolled out its on-boarding programme last year, consisting of courses on the company’s structure, customer service, and food hygiene & work safety.

Partnerships with universities and schools

Maiora has formed a number of partnerships with secondary schools and universities that have allowed around 150 high-school students to participate in dual training programmes (a combination of learning and work), while more than 30 university students have completed an internship at the company’s head office. One such partnership, with the University of Parma, is focused on defining their programmes on CRM and category management.

The objective for 2019 is to increase training programmes for school and university students, providing a vital bridge between theory and practice – helping young people acquire skills and make informed choices about their careers.

Opportunities for all

“In our balance sheet, training accounts for a considerable amount,” said Pippo Cannillo, CEO of SPAR Partner, Maiora. “We recognise that this is not very common. I believe that our staff should be able to talk about the specific local origins and features of our products. Each year, we invest about €1 million in providing training to both our store employees and office staff, because we want to give all of them the opportunity to make career advancements within our company.

“Our Academy trained more than 500 employees of either company-owned or independently run stores last year, with the clear aim of improving individual performance, thereby enriching the company’s fabric and human resources. Our training programmes involved both theoretical sessions and practical workshops with retail experts, continuously raising our company’s standards. Training, as a way of encouraging people to recognise and develop their qualities, is key to business competitiveness and success.”

Source: DESPAR Centre – South

Read more news from SPAR Italy.

About SPAR Italy

SPAR International first granted a licence for the operation of the SPAR Brand to SPAR Italy in 1959. The first store opened in the latter part of 1960 and with it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in Italy. SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.

The DESPAR Partners operate stores under three formats: DESPAR Neighbourhood Supermarkets, EUROSPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets. Many of the larger format stores are company-owned, reflecting the scale of investment required. While the majority of the company’s turnover is acquired through these larger format stores, the independently owned neighbourhood supermarkets remain a key part of the business.