Aurora launches 'fashion first' university accredited retail development programme
Aurora Fashions, the owner of the Coast, Oasis and Warehouse fashion chains, has partnered with the University of Derby Corporate to launch an academically-accredited retail talent programme for employees working in its stores across the UK and Ireland.
The programme is believed to be the first-of-its-kind in fashion retail, as the group looks to increase its investment in nurturing talent in the industry.
The 'Aspire2Accelerate' training programme, which has been developed as a joint investment with UDC, will comprise three higher education level qualifications targeted at all career stages from sales advisor through to area manager. Each completed phase of work-based learning will contribute credits towards the achievement of a full university degree in retail management.
Aurora said the programme will enable it to create a visible career path for front line retail teams both within the brands and across the group, and to identify and nurture a skilled talent pool ready for deployment into retail management roles.
Following a two-month national application process for the first level of the fast track programme, regional roll-out among successful candidates will commence throughout July, starting in London today. It will see up to 150 learners from the Coast, Oasis and Warehouse brands participate in a year-long course, which is partly fulfilled via an e-learning portal, to gain a University Certificate in Retail Management.
Julia Durbin, Aurora's people and organisational development director, said: "At a brand and a group level, we're very proud of our heritage of investing in talent. We're fortunate enough to attract some of the best talent around but believe that, in order to keep and grow our people, we need to offer the opportunities afforded in other industries."
Paul Wilkinson, head of client partnerships at UDC, added: "We're delighted to have been able to partner with Aurora in becoming the first fashion retailer to offer work-based learning to higher education level for existing employees. The programme combines academic, theory and work-based knowledge with vocational skill development and is a great way to begin a university degree pathway to support career progression."
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