Australian retailer Kmart Group will send over a thousand of its employees through cloud training before the end of the year.
The organisation will see staff from Kmart and Target Australia participate in the Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Cloud Guild training and enablement program, with the organisation hoping to provide AWS certification to 100% of its IT workforce, and more than 80% of its non-technical head office employees.
1,400 employees from around Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, and India are expected to participate.
The skills guild and training program, which Kmart Group has dubbed Spark, is designed to provide employees with the skills needed to innovate with cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology.
AWS said the training would enable staff to design, deploy, and operate infrastructure and applications on AWS.
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Spark will be delivered by AWS certified instructors in both online and classroom settings, with each employee able to access more than 20 hours of training.
"We are equipping our staff with the skills needed for the future. Our significant investment in training employees to innovate will be a game-changer as Kmart Group is set to become one of the world's first major retailers to have all IT staff certified in cloud technologies," Kmart Group CTO Michael Fagan said.
"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."
AWS works with many Australian retail customers including David Jones, Country Road, Officeworks, The Iconic, and Mecca Brands.
"The retail industry is undergoing incredible transformation, and Kmart Group is one example of how it is ensuring its employees have the skills to reimage the retail experience through cloud, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning," AWS Australia and New Zealand managing director Paul Migliorini said.
With the new initiative, Kmart Group joins other Australian businesses that have implemented an AWS Cloud Skills Guild-style training program, including Insurance Australia Group, Australia Post, and the National Australia Bank (NAB).
The bank in April last year stood up the NAB Cloud Guild, an internal program that offers AWS skills training.
NAB executive general manager for infrastructure, cloud, and workplace Steven Day told ZDNet in May that senior leadership were also undertaking training, specifically around the business side of cloud.
"We really saw there was a gap there, so this was an opportunity to bring them into the fold," he said.
"What we have been able to do is move NAB into a pretty exciting place to be if you're a cloud developer."
The red and black bank's Cloud Guild has now trained more than 4,500 people from across the organisation, with NAB calling it a "huge success" with helping the bank's workforce understand the power of cloud technology and how it can help solve problems and be able to innovate.