The new facilities offer high-tech materials and new methods of training in a large area of 1,800m². Professional teachers and training experts have been employed to impart knowledge on the trainees, laying the foundation for future careers within SPAR. “Through the modernisation of the building, the SPAR Academy in Vienna has become a learning and competence centre for the training of the next SPAR generation. This is another important milestone for us at SPAR,” said SPAR Austria CEO, Fritz Poppmeier, at the re-opening of the academy.
The large auditorium is the centre piece of the new academy. It will be used as a popular meeting place and a communication and break room during school hours, but will also serve as a venue for SPAR meetings in the future. The conference rooms, with media technology and video conferencing systems, will serve not only the school’s training purposes but will also be used by employees of SPAR Austria. Another highlight of the school is the space allocated for practical work – rooms where students can complete video training and have the opportunity to taste and prepare food. “With smart boards in all six educational rooms, a digital education concept and e-mail accounts for all trainees to give them access to all learning platforms at any time, the SPAR Academy is the vocational school of the future,” concludes Robert Renz, Director of the academy.
In addition to the Viennese state curriculum, the SPAR Academy in Vienna offers numerous extra trainings such as music workshops with members of the Philharmonic Orchestra, styling workshops and training on meat and cheese products, to mention just a few. Another unique feature is the subject of cultural integration, with a strong focus placed on cross-cultural education. The goal is to provide students with a well-rounded, in-depth knowledge of the food trade through these additional training courses.
Sustainability is a top priority at the SPAR Academy in Vienna. With the training of Fairtrade ambassadors and ‘Green Champions’, apprentices are provided with everything they need to know about environmental-friendly and sustainable retailing practices. “In cooperation with WWF and the Ministry of Environment, we offer additional training in the third year, during which our apprentices are trained to become Green Champions,” explained Robert Renz. “Sustainability is not just anchored in the syllabus, it is also physically seen in our operations, for example on the roof of the school, where solar panels have been installed.”
With 2,700 trainees for 20 professions, SPAR is the largest private training organisation in Austria. The SPAR Academy in Vienna is a recognised training institution with a formal curriculum. Currently, about 300 trainees from 34 nations and ethnic groups, speaking 29 different languages and belonging to 13 religious communities, are following training at the SPAR Academy Vienna.
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About SPAR Austria
The origins of SPAR in Austria date back to 1954 when the first SPAR organisation was established, after being granted the licence to operate the SPAR Brand by SPAR International. The current SPAR AG was created in 1970 when the original founding families joined with other regional wholesalers to form SPAR Austria AG – a 100% privately owned Austrian company.