Coles Myer

When you achieve an Australian first in education, lesser goals like saving money; being an employer of choice; attracting and retaining top talent; improving productivity; maintaining a competitive edge; winning awards and successfully adapting to change tend to look after themselves.

Mixed bag

Coles Myer had 13 varied brands and the steely resolve to be number one in all of them. To do this, it needed a much more consistent approach to training staff for its 2000 Australasian sites.

In 1999, a partnership between Coles Supermarkets, DeakinCo and Deakin University created The Coles Institute.

In late 2002, Coles Myer re-engaged DeakinCo to reproduce the stunning success of this initiative across its entire organisation.

Boxed set

To create The Coles Myer Institute (CMI) we combined the traditional strengths of a university with the flexibility, accountability and service ethic of an efficient corporation.

By eschewing bricks and mortar to build a ‘virtual’ campus, we minimised set-up costs. Acting as a ‘learning broker’ we provided an elegant, end-to-end education solution of peerless scope and depth.

From induction and traineeships to postgraduate degrees, a myriad of CMI courses spanned all eight levels of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Our approach combined vocational education and training with university education in one accredited Deakin University pathway while also honouring Coles Myer’s culture and required competencies.

At the same time, we worked with Coles Myer to communicate the CMI’s values internally and thus garner support. As a critical friend and ally who understood where Coles Myer was (and wanted to be) we gently challenged the status quo in those of its brands that needed it most.

Record sales

As with its predecessor, the CMI enjoyed immediate, profound and lasting success.

In 2003, its Constructive Coaching Program won the inaugural International Coach Federation Award.

In 2004, DeakinCo won the Business and Higher Education Round Table Award for educational partnerships with a large organisation of greater than five years.

In 2005, the CMI won the Corporate University Xchange Alliance Award for its corporate institute learning and development model and the Marketing Award for how learning and development was promoted across the organisation. In 2007 the CMI was again recognised by the Corporate University Xchange and received an award for its Leadership Development programs.

The CMI became recognised as a global benchmark for collaboration between industry and higher education. All its programs were in high demand and critical assessments showed real results that translated into business benefits.

Coles Myer staff saw the CMI as their opportunity to access innovative, integrated, high quality education and development programs to further their chosen careers.

In short, we hit this phenomenally complex and challenging project right out of the (car)park!

This Institute embodies everything we have been striving for in education and training reform, cooperation and partnerships, responsiveness and flexibility, life-long learning and education pathways, and innovative use of technology.

Dr David Kemp - Federal Minister for Education & Training - April 1999