# Artboard 1
Back to Overview

GRI 404

Training and Education

The labour market is currently in a state of constant change: Digitalisation is altering the work world, and the demographic shift has created a shortage of skilled workers. Promoting training and education is therefore a particularly relevant issue for companies, since it allows them to build up missing knowledge, qualify their employees accordingly, meet new challenges such as digitalisation and thereby position themselves for the future.

All of the education and training programmes at the REWE Group take place within the framework of the “Training and Development” area of action – which is part of the Employees pillar in the REWE Group’s Sustainability Strategy. The company’s goal in this context is to position itself as an attractive employer in order to attract talent to the company. As many skilled workers and managers as possible are to be recruited internally so that qualified and motivated employees can be tied to the company in the long term.

GRI 404: Training and education

Management approach


The REWE Group offers all employees and managers a comprehensive internal education and training programme that is geared towards the development of both personal and professional skills.

The topic of sustainability plays a role here too because trainees, employees and managers at the REWE Group gain insights into general and specific sustainability aspects within the framework of training courses and projects.


The responsibility for training and education lies with the HR department of the respective sales line.


In principle, further education programmes are developed specifically for each sales line in order to meet varying requirements and at the same time take account of the individual needs of the employees. In addition, there are some human resources development programmes and further education courses that are offered to employees and managers from all sales lines. This helps to promote group-wide networking and gives participants an insight into other sales lines.

The REWE Group offers about 25 different training options, in such areas as retail or wholesale, foreign trade, food production, IT, logistics and tourism. REWE Markt GmbH offers trainees who perform well a guaranteed job after they have completed their training. In total, the REWE Group has 9,345 trainees in Germany and Austria (scope of the sustainability report).


One objective is to increase the share of internal appointments to management positions to 80.0 per cent by 2025. In the financial year, the rate stood at 75.1 per cent (2020: 72.4 per cent).

The REWE Group also intends to increase the training percentage or, at the least, to maintain it at the level of 5.4 per cent. At 5.6 per cent, the percentage of trainees in the workforce was above the target of 5.4 per cent in the financial year.

Goals 2019 2020 2021 Status
Increase the level of internally staffed management positions to 80.0% by 2025 74.4% 72.1% 75.1%
Keep the trainee ratio (trainees as a percentage of the total workforce in full-time equivalents) at 5.4 % until 2025 5.3% 5.3% 5.6%
In progress
Goal attained
Not available
Goal not attained

Measures and projects in the areas of training and study

The REWE Group implements a variety of measures and projects aimed at providing additional support in the context of training and studies. Especially in sales, the REWE Group’s individual sales lines attach great importance to retaining employees after they have completed their training and to providing them with further training and support through targeted programmes. Depending on the sales line, it takes between two and three years to prepare for a management position in a store.

Providing targeted support for trainees – Also digitally during the pandemic

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, digital learning concepts have gained considerable importance in 2020 and 2021. For example, the REWE Group made a lot of additional learning content available online and conducted virtual training sessions.

REWE Markt GmbH, as part of the “Trainee Strategy” project, revised its seminar and training structure for the start of the 2021 training year and added new virtual and classroom seminars. It also incorporated the concept of blended learning, in which both variants can be combined to complement each other. In addition, the company training plan was digitalised: The trainees’ deployment structure in the stores was aligned with the new seminar structure so that they can immediately apply everything they have learned in practice. To compensate for seminar cancellations due to the pandemic, various target group-specific interim concepts were developed for trainees of all apprenticeship years. Besides digital learning modules, these concepts also include online training and practical transfer tasks. Some 75 per cent of the classroom seminars within the training programme were digitalised.

In 2021, trainees at REWE were again able to prepare for their exams or acquire merchandise knowledge at any location using the learning app “Frisches Wissen” (fresh knowledge), which was last updated in 2020. Different formats such as quizzes, flashcards and a glossary offer a varied learning experience.

Regional projects

REWE runs special trainee development projects in the individual regions, which are also designed to showcase the diversity of the training. A selection is presented below:

Trainee project: Fair Supermarket Train

To help trainees gain independence and practical experience, the REWE Region Central opened a “Fair Supermarket Train” together with Fairtrade Germany at the end of 2021: The supermarket aboard a special train carried around 3,000 products across three carriages and called at six stations, where it opened for business for two days each. At each station, the store was run by a different team of 30 trainees from the respective sales area, who also operated the on-board bistro. The project not only highlighted the topics of regionality and sustainability, but also showed the outside world how diverse REWE’s training programme is. Moreover, the participating trainees were able to experience and manage all the processes of a new opening.

At PENNY, trainees can prepare for their final exams with Prozubi, an online learning platform for trainees in commercial professions. The quiz questions are based on the examination questions of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. In 2021, PENNY updated its training programmes to include topics such as sustainability (see section Sustainability in Training) and introduced the PENNY learning app. There was also a pilot project on using tablets for remote training and meetings, which was successfully completed. The rollout took place in January 2022. Trainees who are looking to become office managers and those who hold secondary school diplomas receive digital soft skills training on topics such as online etiquette or time management at PENNY.

As part of REWE International AG’s Career Forge, trainees in Austria are also offered a learning app. The app supplements training opportunities and exam preparation with special events and current content.

A new element introduced in 2021 as a fixed component of apprenticeship training in Austria are one- or two-day personal development seminars for trainees, where they can expect a different thematic focus during each year of their training. The first year focuses on self-motivation and learning techniques, the second year on tips for communication and sales professionals, and the third year on time and conflict management.

The best training for trainers

In January 2021, BILLA launched “Apprenticeship Training Full of Life”, a project for training companies that is funded by two Ministries of Austrian. Its goal is to break down gender stereotypes in dual education. Additionally, it aims to qualify and promote apprenticeship trainers, who are the basis for high-quality apprenticeship training. After an extensive analysis phase in 2021, the training of apprenticeship trainers was redesigned and the certified course was expanded by three additional modules. There are also two additional e-learning courses on “Sexual harassment at the workplace” and “Equal treatment instead of discrimination”. The project runs until June 2022.

At DER Touristik, learning mentors support the training. Because they were partly on short-time work due to the coronavirus pandemic, additional digital learning formats were created to compensate for cancelled internal training classes. 2021 also saw the development of a digital training plan for all apprenticeship years in the travel agency sector. Between one and three training classes a week were generally held in the financial year.

At the Lekkerland sales line, trainees and dual studies students at the corporate headquarters benefit from a Web-based training series called JUMP.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, JUMP took place virtually in 2021.

Attracting trainees

Since 2012, trainee marketing – an area that is becoming increasingly important and fast-moving – has been handled entirely by the individual sales lines. This allows them to recruit in a targeted manner to meet their demand for skilled workers.

REWE Markt GmbH’s training campaigns are primarily conducted in the social networks Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. Ads are posted both on the company’s own career channels and on target group-specific training websites. This is sometimes complemented by radio and print campaigns, school cooperations, applicant training, articles in career magazines or participation in trade fairs. Advertising efforts are intensified twice a year – when apprenticeship places are first publicised and when the target group enters the application phase.

In July 2021, REWE Karriere opened another social media channel on the TikTok platform in order to have a presence where the target group is active. In addition, it launched a campaign called “Get into the game – as a trainee at REWE”, which is designed to appeal to gamers. In three high-quality short films on a specially created landing page, the work of young trainees is transformed into a kind of computer game in which they have to master all kinds of challenges. The high-budget media campaign was supported by gaming influencers who are well-known to the target group. In addition, the REWE careers website was revamped and brought into line with the changed user behaviour of the target group – 75 per cent of page hits are made via mobile devices. Various new modules provide interested parties and job applicants with more transparency about available career paths and training occupations.

PENNY too runs online campaigns on Facebook and Spotify Ads, as well as job adverts on Instagram. In 2021, it also launched the multimedia employer campaign “You can be anything but irrelevant”. The idea being conveyed here is that at PENNY, every employee counts. One focal point was the target group of trainees.

DER Touristik continued its “DER sucht Dich” (DER wants you) campaign on Instagram. Additionally, trainees support the recruitment of new trainees in their role as training ambassadors.

At Lekkerland, the campaign has focused on logistics since 2020, with mailshots being sent to schools and youth centres, for example. The company also advertises its training positions online on various student portals.

The sales lines in Austria also favour social media channels in order to optimally reach trainees. During the financial year, BILLA launched recruitment campaigns on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

Sustainability in training

The REWE Group integrates the topic of sustainability into face-to-face training for trainees. The trainees in all sales lines manage small projects independently, carrying full responsibility for them.

  • REWE trainees in the area of wholesale and foreign trade (administration) each spend 40 hours working in charity facilities.
  • The trainees at the REWE Group headquarters carry out compulsory sustainability projects in their first year of training.
  • All trainees at PENNY receive annual training on the topic of sustainability.

During the financial year, many of the projects had to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Promoting young talent with the REWE Group Star

The group-wide competition REWE Group Star is intended to motivate trainees and junior staff to live sustainability – and thus strengthen the spirit of sustainability within the company. The employees work in teams to identify sustainability issues that they want to promote. They then plan concrete projects and implement them on their own responsibility. In 2021, 41 teams submitted their projects (2020: 7). On account of the coronavirus, the winners were recognised at a digital awards ceremony. First place went to the “Nordlichter” project submitted by five trainees from the toom Baumarkt sales line in the Hamburg region. They sold bread bags they had personally sewn from old clothes, with the proceeds benefiting one of their colleagues.

Supporting scholarship holders

In 2021, the REWE Group continuously supported 17 beneficiaries through the Germanystipendium scholarship programme. Selected economics students from the University of Cologne and TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences receive financial aid. Through this as well as through excursions to production sites and warehouse locations and regular mentoring meetings, the scholarship holders get to know the REWE Group as an attractive company for a potential career start.

Study with the REWE Group

In addition to traditional trainee occupations, the REWE Group gives people an opportunity to take part in dual studies programmes or programs for working professionals, together with such institutions as the European University of Applied Sciences (EUFH) in Brühl, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Mannheim, Ravensburg and seven other locations or the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR). The degree programmes cover the fields of retail, tourism and event management as well as business informatics. A total of 183 students were enrolled in the reporting period (2020: 242).

In addition, the REWE Group offers employees with a Bachelor’s degree a tailor-made part-time Master’s programme leading to the degree “M.A. International Retail Management” in cooperation with the ESB Business School at Reutlingen University. The degree provides key qualifications in national and international retail management. Students are released from work during the face-to-face phases of the degree. The majority of the costs are borne by the REWE Group, with the participants also making a financial contribution. In October 2021, ten employees from the various national and international sales lines began the degree. Twelve employees completed their studies in the financial year. Most of the classroom events originally planned for the students took place virtually.

Trainee programmes as entry opportunities for university graduates

The trainee programmes at the REWE Group offer university graduates from various disciplines an interesting and varied start to their careers. During the 18- to 24-month programmes, they are mainly deployed in their respective area of specialisation. In addition, they also spend time working in relevant interface areas, including abroad. During the reporting period, 27 university graduates began their on-the-job training (2020: 28). In Austria, seven trainees took part in the management trainee programme and in specific trainee programmes, for example in the products or IT departments, during the financial year (2020: nine).

In 2016, a retailer trainee programme was launched, which consists of a 24-month training phase followed by a 12-month assignment as a store manager. The programme is aimed at university graduates who have a strong interest in retail and wish to become self-employed. The goal is for them to become self-employed as REWE independent retailers. Besides the main focus on assignments in various stores, the training also includes work in the field service of the respective regional headquarters and at the company headquarters in Cologne. Five trainees began their training in 2021 (2020: four), with more scheduled to start in 2022.

In 2021, BILLA relaunched the sales field service training programme for fresh produce managers and sales managers. There are currently seven trainees on the 13-month programme, who receive coaching and are mentored by experienced colleagues. This allows them to network with each other and with managers who have more experience. In addition, there are networking opportunities within the framework of projects such as “Lernen macht Schule”, an initiative by Caritas in cooperation with the Vienna University of Economics and Business under the motto “Culture and Diversity Competence”.

GRI 404-2:

Programmes to improve the skills of employees

The REWE Group uses various concepts and programmes to specifically promote the training and education of its employees.

Human resources development programmes

Each sales line offers target group-specific programmes designed to promote systematic human resources development. These programmes provide sales, logistics and administration staff with important skills for their respective areas of activity, preparing them for more advanced tasks or for the role as a manager in a store, in sales or at headquarters.

In 2019, REWE Markt GmbH developed a new further education environment, the REWE Academy for Managers. Because of the pandemic, only 30 per cent of the sales and logistics training classes in 2021 took place in a face-to-face setting and under strict hygiene regulations. The remaining 70 per cent were held virtually in order to give all prospective managers the support and development opportunities they needed, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the financial year under review, skilled workers in the service as well as fruit and vegetable fields have also had access to an academy. This specialised further training of employees in the form of four-stage programmes is the basis for staffing sales positions internally and giving employees development prospects. It also helps REWE to actively address the shortage of skilled workers. The academies are supplemented by region-specific offers.

At REWE Markt, tomorrow’s retailers are accompanied on their way to self-employment with Junior Campus training courses.

At REWE, the REWE Group headquarters and PENNY, trainers have the opportunity to participate in the “Train the trainer” program of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) as well as in regular trainer workshops.

PENNY additionally promotes the development of new and aspiring store managers at the store level: The DISCOUNT executive development programme prepares them for this position both professionally and personally. Aspiring district managers are trained in the entry-level programme. Logistics managers are also instructed in a logistics programme (FEL).

Lekkerland promotes the development of functional managers in logistics through its Team Manager Programme and prepares prospective functional managers for their tasks in the High Potentials Programme. New line managers are promoted through the First Leadership Programme.

In 2020, toom Baumarkt launched a new personal development programme for its employees. Many seminars took place digitally in the financial year under review.

Human resources development programmes for managers across various sales lines

Senior managers are offered programmes that focus not only on qualification but also on networking and international exchange. These programmes are conducted with participants from all sales lines.

Since 2018, middle managers across the group have access to special training courses and the “Future Journey” programme. Members of this important target group thus receive both programme-based and individual training that prepares them for future challenges in their professional lives with regard to innovation and leadership and helps them to network more closely with others. Around 105 participants have completed the programme so far.

At the Management Academy, managers gain further professional skills and are prepared for tasks in top management. Among the main focal points here are the topics of leadership, self-reflection and strategic alignment. Sustainability is also an important cornerstone – both in terms of questioning and discussing one’s own attitude and in practical terms during excursions. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the programmes were largely conducted digitally.

Further training and development

All employees of the REWE Group have access to a wide range of seminars, which are centrally managed via a learning centre at the Cologne location. The learning catalogue contains more than 150 training courses that can be booked in the Learning Management System. In addition, there are separate seminars for all regions and for sales. Additional subject-specific academies for the Human Resources, Real Estate, Accounting, Products and IT departments round off the range of qualifications on offer. Seminars are continuously adapted to the needs of the relevant target group. Due to the pandemic, the seminars during the financial year were held almost exclusively online; classroom training was conducted under the applicable hygiene regulations.

Since November 2021, the DNAble Academy has offered almost 60 digital learning options on the new working world for all target groups – covering topics such as remote leadership, virtual collaboration or use of digital tools. Since spring 2022, the training courses have been conducted both face-to-face and using the blended learning or live-online formats. The live-online seminars received very positive feedback in the course of the pandemic.


Familiarising new employees with the company is also an important item on the agenda of all sales lines. The majority of them are provided with onboarding and/or check-in days, mentoring by colleagues and additional induction plans. Moreover, relevant e-learning courses on subjects such as data protection, security awareness, compliance, antitrust law or occupational health and safety are assigned to them in the learning management system when they start.

In 2021, REWE’s welcome website was expanded to cover the employees of independent retailers. Here, new employees can find detailed information about their employer from the moment they sign their contract.

Since 2019, BILLA in Austria has had 24 training stores where new employees are familiarised with the checkout, delicatessen and fruit and vegetable areas. They are also provided with a welcome folder on the intranet. Furthermore, BILLA holds a welcome day for new employees several times a year, where it introduces the different departments. In 2020 and 2021, this format was implemented virtually. BILLA and BILLA PLUS also used digital methods for the onboarding of trainees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

BIPA introduced two new onboarding formats in 2021: #wissenswert for store employees and “Virtual Starter” for trainees as on-the-job training. The content of both formats is adapted to the respective target group.

Targeted further education for managers

In addition to a wide range of further education opportunities for all REWE Group employees, the company offers special further education programmes for middle managers and senior executives (see also section Human Resources Development Programmes).

The middle management seminars aim to strengthen managers in their role, prepare them for tomorrow’s challenges and promote international networking. They cover the topics of leadership, entrepreneurship and personal development. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of these formats were implemented in virtual form in the financial year.

The ambitious internal further education programme myCampus provides needs-based knowledge and cross-company networking for the senior management levels. The programme comprises classroom training, lectures and coaching to foster skills development. A lot of this was also implemented virtually in 2021.

Digital learning

As with trainees (see section Providing Targeted Support for Trainees – Also Digitally during the Pandemic), the REWE Group is increasingly relying on digital learning and blended learning concepts to strengthen the skills of its employees – as an efficient method of reaching all members of staff and offering them the opportunity to learn from home. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft Teams was implemented as a new collaboration platform in 2020. Since then, it has been used to run the live online seminars. In summer 2021, REWE and PENNY stores began to be equipped with tablets to make it even easier for sales staff to participate in virtual meetings and training classes.

The training portfolio includes around 190 e-learning modules, digital nuggets (training units of less than five minutes) and mini training courses throughout the company. Some of these cover legally required content, such as hygiene, infection control or occupational safety. The portfolio also includes voluntary courses for employees, for example on career and succession planning. The aim of e-learning is to impart practically relevant knowledge, often in a playful way. The engaging and interactive training units serve to support and educate employees through an intuitive learning format.

REWE and PENNY, the central departments in Cologne and the regions, as well as other sales lines have a cloud-based IT platform containing the “Learning” module. There are separate e-learning platforms for toom Baumarkt DIY stores, DER Touristik, Lekkerland and for Austria.

Overview of participants in online and classroom training courses 2021

Completed online courses Completed classroom training courses (partly digital due to the coronavirus)
REWE1 972,153 60,624
PENNY 241,798 9,130
toom Baumarkt2 1,907 1,395
Retail Germany HQ, production operations3, REWE Digital and small sales lines 57,187 7,848
Lekkerland 6,800 1,385
All sales lines 309,610 7,075 (training days)
Including PETZ REWE and REWE To Go.
There were no further education courses in the 1st half of the year during short-time work.
Glocken Bäckerei and quality butcher Wilhelm Brandenburg

Sustainability training

All procurement staff at REWE Far East and in the non-food sector are briefed on relevant sustainability topics. This includes training on the Code of Conduct of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (amfori BSCI), on raw materials such as fish, palm oil and soy – topics for which the REWE Group has drawn up guidelines – and on special topics of concern to the REWE Group, such as avoiding environmentally harmful chemicals.

All employees at the central locations as well as at REWE and PENNY stores have the opportunity to explore the topic of sustainability via a continuously updated e-learning tool. In addition, the topic of sustainability is integrated into the training courses for trainees at PENNY and the company headquarters.

At the REWE Group in Austria, all new employees of the central departments as well as all trainees are instructed on sustainability topics at regular intervals. Managers can also find out about current trends and developments through a variety of event formats.

GRI 404-3:

Employees receiving regular performance and career development

Systematic career and succession planning (CSP) is a key part of the REWE Group’s company-wide talent management. The aim is to foster the development of skilled workers and managers from within the company’s own ranks: High achievers and staff members with strong potential are to be identified at an early stage and tied to the company in the long term. To this end, the sales lines and headquarters conduct regular performance and potential appraisals, potential conferences and individual development meetings. REWE, PENNY, toom Baumarkt DIY stores, the various headquarters and some smaller sales lines are all connected to the same platform. At DER Touristik and the REWE Group in Austria, the appraisal process is not yet carried out digitally.

Each sales line and the company headquarters start the CSP process with a review of the tasks in the job description. Managers assess the performance of their employees on the basis of task fulfilment and skills from the REWE Group skills model. These appraisals and the employees’ self-assessments are then discussed by the management team during what is referred to as a potential conference. At these conferences, managers of a particular hierarchical level or within a division or department talk about the employees directly assigned to them. The aim is to develop joint standards for judging performance and potential, to set up targeted and effective development planning and to create the basis for systematic succession planning. Potential conferences for senior management and the management levels immediately below take place annually, while potential conferences for the other management or staff levels are held every two years. In annual strategic portfolio meetings, HR partners discuss the potential and development prospects of individual employees with their superiors.

The subsequent annual development interviews between direct superiors and their employees ensure that feedback on task fulfilment, aspects of cooperation and questions regarding further personal and professional development are discussed, documented and pursued in a targeted manner.

In 2021, the CSP process was conducted for 31,188 employees and managers at the various headquarters as well as for managers in sales and logistics at PENNY, REWE and toom Baumarkt (2020: 31,330); in Austria, around 3,000 employees and managers received feedback (2020: 2.650). At REWE Markt GmbH, the development interview extends to all 78,000 sales staff and is also documented in the system.

The digital platform to which REWE, PENNY, toom Baumarkt, the various headquarters and a number of smaller sales lines are connected brings the topic of integrated talent management into focus. In addition, it interlinks the recruiting, learning and talent management processes with each other – with the aim of simplifying talent recruitment, internal staffing and employee development.