AN EXCITING new era has dawned on the retail and wholesale industry, with far-reaching steps undertaken by stakeholders to professionalise it as a career of choice. To achieve this goal, training centres focusing on retail and wholesale, have been set up with the main objective of producing qualified graduates. These centres, known as retail simulation centres, have been set up at selected Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in the country. The initiative is spearheaded by the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) and the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&R Seta). Giant retail group Shoprite and Checkers supports the training initiative. The Motheo TVET College in Bloemfontein officially opened its fully-fledged centre on 21 July at the main campus in Bloemfontein. The centre is the fifth in South Africa and has equipment that includes the latest cash register to offer hands-on training and equip students with the employable skills required in the retail and wholesale industry. Sizakele Moloko, independent distributor, said R5,8 million has been invested in these retail simulation centres to ensure they produce graduates capable of contributing to the growth of the retail and wholesale industry and make it a career choice. “Professionalising the retail and wholesale industry will give it the deserved recognition in the job market. “The retail and wholesale industry is one of the largest employers. “Producing qualified graduates will make it even more prestigi-ous,” said Moloko. She said nine TVET Colleges have been earmarked to train students interested in making retail and wholesale a career of choice. Training entails merchandising, which includes product display, packaging, advertising techniques used to promote and sell goods, stock-taking and finance management, net sales and net income Z all crucial figures to indicate a company’s financial stability.