In order to provide further education for our tenants’ employees, Citycon has cooperated with Folkeuniversitetet (the Norwegian extended university organisation) in the cities of Bergen and Drammen in Norway for several years. In 2019, Citycon expanded the cooperation to two centres in Stavanger.
The retail industry employs around 400,000 Norwegians, and it is an industry where the education level is lower than the Norwegian average. Eight out of ten of those working in the retail trade have no education beyond primary or secondary education. This is something that is changing at Citycon’s shopping centres.
Offering additional education to tenants has grown gradually in Citycon’s Norwegian centres. What started as Citycon offering its tenants one course in sales and service at Magasinet in Drammen in 2013, now includes the possibility for tenants to enrol in a wide range of courses provided by Folkeuniversitetet in six centres in Bergen, Stavanger and Drammen. The themes of the courses focus on economics, sales, marketing and social media as well as computer skills, aiming to provide additional competence for the personnel at our tenants’ stores.
The centres provide suitable areas for the courses during mornings, afternoons and evenings, usually 3–4 hours per week over the course of 10–12 weeks. The feedback has been very positive, and we are looking forward to continuing and expanding this cooperation in the years to come.
Folkeuniversitetet is responsible for arranging the courses which are financed through the state programme KompetansePluss. The programme requires course participants to have a low level of formal education and the training to be based on their workplace and tasks. The completion of the provided courses results in a certificate of completed apprenticeship, a formal diploma.
In addition to the benefits of having a formal diploma that shows competence in a certain field, the courses have given a boost to unity at the centres. “Once you've been together one night a week for several months, you get to know each other better across stores, businesses and floors,” says Hilde Røren, Marketing Coordinator at Citycon.