Woolworths has announced plans to invest more than $50 million over the next three years to help equip its team with the skills and capabilities required for the future of retail.

The Woolworths Future of Work Fund will prioritise key focus areas for training including digital, data analytics, machine learning and robotics, with further investment planned for advanced customer service skills, team leadership and agile ways of working.

Its purpose is to upskill, reskill and redeploy team members impacted by industry disruption and technological change. It’s expected that more than 60,000 team members will receive training over the next three years.

Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO, says that globally, retail is changing at the fastest pace we’ve seen in decades.

“Technological advances in automation, predictive analytics, AI and cloud computing are making core retail processes much faster and more efficient than ever before.

“While these changes push our industry forward for the better, they’re also changing the nature of the day to day work many of our people do.

“That’s an exciting prospect on many levels, but it also creates uncertainty. As Australia’s largest private employer, we want to lead on this transition and ensure no team member is left behind by the wave of change we’re all riding.

“The Future of Work Fund is designed to equip our team members with new skills and capabilities that will not only serve their career well within Woolworths, but across a number of industries.”

Over the coming months, the Fund will formalise partnerships with key learning institutions and other stakeholders to ensure it takes an integrated and holistic approach. Importantly, while the program will be built for Woolworths’ needs, the knowledge will be shared across retail and other service industries to help support economy-wide upskilling and training programs.

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