All of Kmart Group’s IT staff and 80 per cent of its non-technical head office employees are expected to complete training in Amazon Web Services by December, under a new “Cloud Guild” announced today by the public cloud provider.

Kmart says the training will make Kmart Group one of the only retailers in the world with an entire IT staff certified in cloud technologies.

In total, 1,400 employees from Kmart and Target Australia will receive the training by the end of the year, across various APAC locations. Staff will have access to at least 20 hours of online and classroom training training in a program the retailer group is calling SPARK.

Employees will be trained in how to use AWS cloud tools and services which ranges from digital infrastructure to machine learning and artificial intelligence services. Kmart group currently use a range of AWS products, including standard storage and compute services, data services like Redshift, Athena, EMR, ElasticCache, Glue, Quicksight, RDS, and serverless services like Lambda, API Gateway, and WorkSpaces.

 AWS has similar cloud skills programs with National Australia Bank, Australia Post, and Insurance Australia Group.

Closing the cloud skills gap

Deloitte research commissioned by AWS found employees’ proficiency in cloud skills was the biggest barrier to a successful transition to the public cloud in Australia, with 37 per cent of Australian businesses reporting it as their number one migration challenge.

“We are equipping our staff with the skills needed for the future,” said Michael Fagan, chief technology officer of Kmart Group (picture above left).

Fagan says the program will help make Kmart Group “one of the world’s first major retailers to have all IT staff certified in cloud technologies.

“We are using new technology to increase efficiency and achieve scale, which was previously impossible. For example, we are now able to leverage AWS data platforms, including RedShift, to gain better and faster insights about our products and their demand across our network.”

Paul Migliorini, managing director for AWS in Australia and New Zealand, said customers were telling the cloud provider skills remained a barrier. 

“Kmart Group is tackling this challenge head-on by making cloud training and education accessible across different levels and departments within the organisation,” he said. 

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