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Career development and diversity

During the year, Coles' workforce increased to more than 106,000 team members. This included an expansion of its existing graduate program to include Coles Express and distribution centres. In 2017, Coles hired 199 graduates taking the total number of graduates at the end of the financial year to 402.

In addition to the graduate program, Coles offered 140 bakery apprenticeships to support its commitment to providing an additional 180 in-store bakeries. Coles also plans to recruit an additional 100 qualified bakers next year.

More than 6,000 Coles Liquor team members took part in a new service training program, focused on developing product knowledge and world-class customer service skills.

This year,  Coles Retail Leaders program was redesigned and relaunched to better support team members for a career in retail management. More than 600 team members have been trained through the program since its inception.

Pay and conditions
The majority of team members are covered by the Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd and Bi-Lo Pty Limited Retail Agreement 2011, with most meat team members covered by State based agreements and a small number of Coles Online customer service agents covered by the General Retail Industry Award.

In July 2016, an individual team member filed an application to terminate the 2011 Agreement. If the application is successful, and the 2011 Agreement is terminated, the General Retail Industry Award will apply. The matter has been referred to the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission for hearing in November/December 2017.

Coles has also initiated bargaining for a new agreement for our wages-paid store team members. Coles believes this is the best way forward for its team members.

Diversity at Coles
Coles has prepared a 2020 inclusion strategy to enhance its workplace diversity. This strategy has been developed following collaboration with a leading business school, and Coles is confident it will build on its work to provide an inclusive workplace where all team members feel supported.

Indigenous engagement
This year, 2,872 team members or approximately 2.7 per cent of Coles’ workforce, self-identified as Indigenous. Coles is confident that the company’s target, to have 3,000 Indigenous team members by 2020, will be met during the next year.

Coles continued to roll out the First Steps three-week pre-employment program for Indigenous job seekers and during the year, expanded the program to include a remote location for the first time. The expansion of the program to include Kalgoorlie was also the first time all Coles’ retail brands had participated – including Coles Supermarkets, Liquor and Coles Express.

More than 700 team members have joined Coles through the First Steps program since it was established in 2010.

Coles is also committed to providing opportunities for career progression, with more than 140 Indigenous people employed in skilled and leadership roles across Australia.

Pride at Coles, Coles' Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) committee, promotes an inclusive workplace where all team members can feel confident and supported.

This year, Coles again sponsored Melbourne’s annual Midsumma Pride Festival with more than 80 team members, their friends and family, marching under the Coles banner. A Coles Brand food truck also joined in the celebrations serving more than 3,500 party goers Coles Brand water, ice cream sandwiches, and rainbow cake.

For the first time, Coles participated in the Australian Workplace Equality Index and was awarded a Bronze Employer status, recognising our actions to improve LGBTI workplace inclusion.

Coles is preparing to re-launch its accessibility action plan with a focus on improving the accessibility of its stores, sites and workplaces for people with disability, while supporting its customers and the community.

Coles has partnered with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) to pilot Quiet Hour, a low-sensory shopping experience in our supermarkets, offering dimmed lights, reduced noise and limited overhead announcements at specified times.

Coles is also exploring opportunities to improve pathways to employment and the recruitment process for people with a disability.

Coles actively review its digital platforms to check they are accessible to a wide range of users, including those who have a disability. Coles is working with external partners to provide best practice and continuing to develop digital accessibility across Coles platforms.

Women in leadership
Coles maintains a focus on gender balance in leadership positions within its business. This year, it piloted a Women in Leadership development program in its merchandise function, with 16 team members completing the full program. The success of the program enabled its expansion across other business functions, with more than 100 additional team members starting the program. Coles is working to increase the representation of women in leadership through central and functionally tailored plans.

During the year, Coles increased its paid parental leave from eight weeks to 12 weeks for the primary care giver. For the first time, it also introduced one week paid parental leave for the secondary care giver.

Coles also launched a pilot parental leave support program with Parents@Work, aimed at providing working parents with confidence and practical solutions to support them as working parents. Twenty nominated team members are taking part in the pilot and their experiences and feedback will help shape the approach for further parental leave support.