The retail industry, which employs over 3 million people in the UK, has at last received official recognition of its unique skills employed on the retail floor, as the first industry-wide training scheme that will provide essential skills and widely-recognised transferable qualifications has been launched in London.
Leading national retailers, such as John Lewis Partnership, Sainsbury’s, Kingfisher group and Rymans, have put their support behind the National Skills Academy for Retail.
JLP chairman Charlie Mayfield, Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire and Lord Young, Minister for Skills, spoke at a launch event to announce the establishement of the first 18 skills shops to join the training network, which is planned to become the biggest retail training network ever established in the UK. The plan includes creating 70 professional retail Skills Shops in high streets and shopping centres, run individually by partnerships of local stakeholders including developers, training providers, other agencies such as job centres and retailers themselves.
“Creating a truly employer-led skills framework is an important ingredient for the future success of the UK economy. The establishment of the National Skills Academy for Retail is a significant step towards that goal,” said Mr Mayfield. “It is also a milestone for our sector. For the first time, there will be a quality assured network of retail skills shops, providing consistent, high-quality training and advice to develop skills, improve efficiency and drive productivity.”