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Retail recognised as an apprenticeship trailblazer

Skills and workforce development charity People 1st has been nominated to manage the development of an apprenticeship trailblazer for retail following the GovernmentÂ’s announcement that the retail industry would take part in the second phase of the programme.


Retail recognised as an apprenticeship trailblazer

Theo Paphitis, chairman of Ryman Stationery and homewares company Robert Dyas, and founder of lingerie brand Boux Avenue, led the approach from retail employers to Government to gain approval to develop an apprenticeship trailblazer for the sector.

The project will now be taken forward by a group leading retailers which will be chaired by The Co-operative Group. It will work towards developing new apprenticeship standards for retail shop floor staff and sales assistants with support from People 1st.

While work will begin immediately and the new standards will be available from this summer to allow employers time to prepare for the changes, the new apprenticeships will not become the industry standard until 2017/2018.

Theo Paphitis said he was keen to work with a trailblazer group representing the retail industry to ensure that future apprenticeships fully reflected the knowledge and skills needed to to develop a successful career in the sector.

He added: “As employers of apprentices we understand the benefits of apprenticeships and look forward to working with other prominent retailers to start to develop retail-specific apprenticeships that are fit for purpose, both now and in the future.

“We also want to show what a thriving industry we have in retail and make sure that as many people as possible recognise the fantastic range of career opportunities available in the sector. An apprenticeship is a great starting point, providing a solid foundation that people will benefit from throughout their career.”

To coincide with the announcement about the retail trailblazer status, People 1st has also released a practical guide to the apprenticeship reforms in England.

Martin-Christian Kent, research and policy director at People 1st, said: “We’ve spoken to a lot of employers over the past couple of years while the consultations took place and got their opinions of how things should change, so we’re clear where the concerns are and what areas employers are going to need to look at in future.

“We can help employers prepare, but they have time to do this – the world of apprenticeships is not going to change overnight. This report outlines the process and when it will start, and guide them through what they need to consider.”

People 1st has developed an infographic with key information about apprenticeships that can be used alongside the full report, both of which can be downloaded from the People 1st website.

The full list of apprenticeship trailblazer employers from the retail sector includes The Co-operative Group, Ryman, John Lewis, Tesco, Asda, Goulds Dorchester, The Horticultural Trades Association, AS Watson UK, B&Q, Bootsm, Screwfix, and Debenhams.

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