PN pro­poses set­ting up an in­ter­na­tional re­tail academy

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

The Na­tion­al­ist Party will to­day pro­pose the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­ter­na­tional re­tail academy un­der the aegis of the Malta Col­lege of Arts, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (MCAST).

Un­der the pro­posal, the academy would train peo­ple in­ter­ested in two par­tic­u­lar re­tail ar­eas and of­fer cer­tifi­cates and qual­i­fi­ca­tions. The first area would fo­cus on the op­er­a­tional side of re­tail, in­clud­ing over-the­counter ser­vice providers, cus­tomer-fac­ing in­di­vid­u­als, etc. The sec­ond sec­tion would fo­cus on re­tail man­age­ment and in­vest­ment, etc.

This is one of 51 pro­pos­als the PN in­tends an­nounc­ing to­day, when Opposition Leader Simon Busut­til presents the Party’s new pol­icy for re­tail­ers.

A PN source said that hav­ing proper aca­demic and pro­fes­sional train­ing will help re­tail­ers build bet­ter busi­ness mod­els, cre­ate bet­ter busi­ness plans, un­der­stand dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, un­der­stand con­sumer be­hav­iour, etc. The re­tail sec­tor, the source con­tin­ued, was in­di­cat­ing the need for pro­fes­sional peo­ple com­mit­ted to the in­dus­try, rather than those who just work in the sec­tor as a stop-gap mea­sure.

The rea­son why the PN would not cre­ate the academy as a sep­a­rate en­tity but rather have it fall un­der the aegis of MCAST, is be­cause MCAST pro­vides the right in­sti­tu­tional frame­work for the de­vel­op­ment of th­ese ver­ti­cal in­dus­tries, the PN source ex­plained.

He added that, in terms of struc­ture, this would also be more ef­fi­cient as there would be no need to du­pli­cate the top man­age­ment struc­ture.

The PN fore­sees two types of stu­dents at­tend­ing such an academy: new stu­dents in­ter­ested in go­ing into re­tail work and those al­ready in the busi­ness. “It would also at­tract for­eign­ers to come to Malta and study, like the Univer­sity of Malta and the ITS,” the source added.

The PN says that this pol­icy doc­u­ment is the first of its kind for the re­tail sec­tor, and cov­ers the full spec­trum of the re­tail in­dus­try – from small stand-alone shops, to multi-ten­ant shop­ping malls.

“The idea is to cre­ate mea­sures that can help strengthen the re­tail in­dus­try, with a fo­cus on small op­er­a­tors – which we be­lieve are cen­tral to growth.”

The pol­icy doc­u­ment is based on three pil­lars. The first is how re­tail­ers can be in­cen­tivised to be more ef­fi­cient, re­duce their op­er­at­ing costs and make more in­vest­ment. The sec­ond is how the government can en­able growth in the re­tail sec­tor and in new sec­tor ar­eas and looks at how re­tail­ers can in­crease their rev­enue. The third pil­lar re­lates to re­tail spa­ces, in­clud­ing how the government can pro­vide reg­u­la­tion plan­ning schemes and in­cen­tives on the struc­tur­ing of re­tail spa­ces in an en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able man­ner, and aims to make sense of re­tail spa­ces from the ur­ban per­spec­tive”

Asked about the dig­i­tal side of the re­tail sec­tor, the PN sources said that the dig­i­tal side of re­tail is in­cluded in the pro­pos­als them­selves, such as those re­lat­ing to elec­tronic pay­ment, ex­por­ta­tion through e-com­merce, etc.

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