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Education and Training

  • 60% of retail sales and customer service staff in the UK retail sector have attained an NVQ Level 2 or higher qualification.
  • 14% of sales and customer service staff do not hold any formal qualifications.
  • 43% of retail managers or senior officials in UK possess an NVQ Level 3 or higher qualification.
  • 9% of retail managers do not hold any formal qualifications.

Source: Scotland National Background Brief 2008


Entry and progression

Retail Apprenticeships are available to people looking to work in retail and who want to learn the skills needed for a successful career in the industry. Apprentices work towards a level 2 Retail Skills N/SVQ or a level 3 in Retail (Retail Management, Sales Professional or Visual Merchandising pathway) N/SVQ.

Qualifications or experience in retail or other customer service focused roles are useful for those wishing to enter the industry. Career changers can also look to apply for more advanced roles – for example supervisor and management roles.

The retail industry provides people with good generic skills and is attractive to adults changing career direction. Increased opening hours have allowed a greater flexibility in the types of jobs available and full-time, part-time, or shift work is available. Although there are many different types of jobs in retail, most adults will enter the workplace in store operations, which could mean being a sales assistant.

Skillsmart Retail is developing a network of 30 plus Skill Shops through its National Skills Academy for Retail across the UK.

Source: Skillsmart Retail LMI Report April 2010


Apprenticeships

Retail Apprenticeships are available to people looking to work in retail and who want to learn the skills needed for a successful career in the industry. As an Apprentice the individual gets to develop retail specific skills and knowledge while learning key/core skills such as communication and numeracy.

On a retail apprenticeship individuals will experience a variety of job roles consisting of:

  • Check out and cash handling
  • Working with customers
  • Replenishing and rotating stock
  • Setting up displays
  • Stock control, including ordering and delivery

Source: Skillsmart Retail LMI Report April 2010


Training

Only around half of all retail businesses have a business plan that specifies their aims and objectives over the coming two to three years. Only 42% of retail businesses have a formal training plan and just a quarter of all businesses in the sector have a pre-defined training budget.

57% of all employers in the retail sector had provided training to their staff in 2005. Almost 27% had exclusively provided on-the-job training, while less than 1 in 10 had exclusively provided off-the-job training. Just over a fifth of employers had opted to use a combination of on-the-job and off-the-job training to their staff.

Micro-businesses (1-10 employees) in the sector are more likely not to provide any training.

The retail sector compares poorly with the whole economy in its training of those in associate professional roles, which includes buyers, merchandisers and sales representatives. Of all management groups in retail, managers/proprietors of small retail establishments are far less likely to have either higher level qualification or to have undertaken training.

Source: Skillsmart Retail Sector Skills Agreement 2007