Yoox Net-a-Porter to support digital skills development in Italy

Luxury e-tailer Yoox Net-a-Porter has allied with Bologna Business School (BBS) and a range of technology companies to launch the Center for Digital Business Education, which has been marketed as the first European hub of managerial education for digital business.

The aim of the new educational establishment is to train students with the necessary skills for specialist roles in disciplines such as web analytics, online marketing, big data, eCommerce management and website management. It comes at a time when the UK and European governments are calling on businesses to address a digital skills gap.

A report released last summer by the UK government's Commission for Employment and Skills said that retailers need to attract graduates and workers with digital and customer services skills to boost productivity in their sector. It suggested that employing technically skilled people and upskilling the existing workforce will be a crucial requirement for retailers if they are to take full advantage of fast-changing shopping habits – and this is clearly the case in other European territories, too.

The new education facility in Bologna, which opened on Tuesday, is set to combine BBS's background in managerial training with the newly merged Yoox and Net-a-Porter's fashion eCommerce expertise, in addition to the digital knowhow of Boston Consulting Group, Google, GroupM, IBM and WPP.

The tech companies' involvement will help define educational content, scholarships, and the involvement of their managers as teachers, which is hoped will bring the right mix of academic and managerial skills.

Federico Marchetti, CEO of Yoox Net-a-Porter, commented: "Education is an act of social responsibility for Yoox Net-a-Porter Group and this partnership further demonstrates our commitment to Bologna where we have been active since 2000.

"Our foundations in Bologna and across Italy have helped us to become the world leader of luxury eCommerce."

Enrico Cereda, CEO of IBM Italy, added that developing digitalisation in Italy is among the key priorities for his business.

"To ensure this, we provide the best universities with technical and managerial capacities that harness the force of a global network, developed in research centres alongside clients from every industry," he remarked.

"Here in Bologna we have found specific academics and the highest level of business leadership. And all this, we are sure, will be invaluable for the young people who are preparing themselves to begin their educational journey."

Courses set to be offered, which interested parties can register for from next month, include an Executive Master's in E-Business, a full-time Master’s Degree, and an open programme of short intensive courses. The centre will also offer Workshop & Lab opportunities to provide businesspeople with a place to share share best practice and case studies.

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Bologna Business School

IBM Italy