Welsh retailers bridging the skills gap

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 18 July 2008

Citation

(2008), "Welsh retailers bridging the skills gap", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 36 No. 9. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijrdm.2008.08936iab.003

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Welsh retailers bridging the skills gap

Article Type: Retail reports From: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Volume 36, Issue 9

In a bid to combat the current skills gap, a Welsh training provider has developed an apprenticeship programme specifically aimed at the retail sector.

The modern welsh economy is currently dominated by the service sector. However, qualification levels in Wales are currently lower than in England, Scotland and the UK as a whole.

Arfon Dwyfor Training (ADT) in Caernarfon, Gwynedd has launched the apprenticeship programme, which includes RetailPlus qualifications, a range of awards which are designed to develop skills within the retail sector and to deliver what retailers want. These qualifications will also run alongside a number of other awards including key skills in application of number and communication.

ADT has been successfully running RetailPlus qualifications as stand-alone awards since May 2006. More than 350 students have already completed a range of RetailPlus qualifications including retail skills, customer service, team leading and warehouse and distribution, achieving a 96 per cent completion rate.

Claire Matthews, Team Manager at ADT, commented:

Our collaboration with RetailPlus has been a huge benefit to the retail industry in north and mid Wales. With 96 per cent of learners expected to complete their framework qualifications and with a high retention rate, the partnership has also been extremely successful.

The RetailPlus qualifications have given learners, especially in rural areas, a fantastic opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification. Learners are also achieving key skills early on the programme which has had a very positive impact on their high motivation levels.

We chose to run the RetailPlus programmes as the workbooks cater for the learners needs and are easy to follow progress through. The workbooks also fit well into many job roles. Learners have commented that the workbooks help them to gain knowledge of the legalities within the Retail Environment such as Sale of Goods Act, Data Protection, Trading Standards and helps them to refresh on workplace policies and procedures.

Kevin Maxfield, Managing Director at RetailPlus, said:

We are delighted at the success and achievements at ADT. The apprenticeship programme highlights the excellent work being carried out at ADT and also demonstrates the effectiveness and flexibility of RetailPlus qualifications.

Currently only 28 per cent of the UK’s working age population have skills at Apprenticeship, technical or craft level - this is much lower than other European countries. Apprenticeships are one of the best ways to fill the skills gap in the UK workforce, enabling retail businesses to become more effective, competent, productive and competitive.