Cotton On Group has taken a skills shortage into its own hands.

According to the Group’s careers team, there is a shortfall of talented planners in the retail industry.

So the company is approaching recruiting in a new way - developing its own planners through a dedicated graduate program.

The Group has welcomed 13 graduates to its very first graduate program, a specialised 15-month career development initiative within the in-house planning team.

The graduates will undergo training at the Group's Geelong head office, learning how to effectively forecast sales and manage stock.

Full-time opportunities will also become available at the end of the program.

Lauren Ogden, a member of the Group’s learning and development team, has been working with the company for almost nine years.

“Launching a graduate program means we’re able to approach recruiting for planners in a different way, as it allows us to hand-pick planning talent and teach them while on the job.

"As a former planner myself, I am truly excited that our first ever graduate program is focused on planning, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and seeing our next generation of world-class planners develop and progress."

The program doubles as an opportunity to further develop and grow people already working with the business.

Several of the 13 graduates joining the team have come from Cotton On Group retail stores, including a number who have relocated from interstate.

Over the course of the program, the graduates will be active members of the planning team, learning and taking part in tasks relevant to the function.

All learning activities have been scheduled to compliment the activities currently happening in each of the Group’s brands.

All learning content available to the graduates throughout the 15 months will also be accessible to the Group’s existing planning team, assisting team members in terms of career development and increasing their industry knowledge.

Following a successful program, graduate initiatives will also be introduced across the Group’s other departments.

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