Retail sector employers setting the standard for new apprenticeships
Employers from across the retail industry are being urged to help refine apprenticeship standards that have been developed as part of the second round of apprenticeship trailblazers announced by the Government.
The Co-operative Group is leading a retail apprenticeship trailblazer group which has developed an apprenticeship standard for retailers. This has involved working with a number of other retailers to develop the standards with People 1st managing the process.
The trailblazer group has also received input from a range of SMEs within the industry, although they are now calling for more input following the Government’s decision to allow them more time to finalise the standards, which will now be submitted in mid-October.
Annette Allmark, director of strategic policy at People 1st, is urging other retail employers to take part following the government extension. The standards will be available on the People 1st website until 30 September 2014 and retailers are being encouraged to submit comments.
Allmark said: “The trailblazer group is continuing to refine the retailer standard to ensure it sets the best outcome for apprentices and is appropriate for businesses of all sizes across the retail industry, especially with reference to online retailing and the use of different sales techniques.
“We’ll also continue to work with and represent the group and the industry, and the standards will be available on the People 1st website for anyone interested to comment on.
“Even employers that don’t currently employ an apprentice should get involved, as this new standard and the skills learnt during an apprenticeship will be the foundation for the future of the retail industry.”
Lloyd Thomas, group apprenticeship manager at The Co-operative Group, added: “We’re starting to see the effects of the expanding economy again, which is fantastic news for many retailers. However, this kind of growth does bring its own challenges, especially when it comes to finding staff with the right skills for a business.
“Apprenticeships can really help in this area, as they give retailers the opportunity to train someone in the skills and to the standards that employers want.
“This new standard takes that a step further and gives us as employers ownership of this type of training. It’s a wonderful opportunity and everyone on the trailblazer group wants to see as many businesses engaging as possible.”
The full list of employers and trade bodies that developed the apprenticeship trailblazer standards includes AS Watson UK, Asda, B&Q, Boots, the British Retail Consortium, Debenhams, Goulds Dorchester, The Horticultural Trades Association, John Lewis, Oasis and Warehouse, Ryman, Sainsbury's, Screwfix, Tesco, The Co-operative Group, and Travis Perkins.
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