The Retailer Spring_09.05_FA


Bright Future for Retail Apprenticeships

A survey of retailers by the British Retail Consortium found that 95% of retailers plan to increase the number of apprenticeships offered at their company over the next two years. Apprenticeships are a great path for people throughout their career, from those just starting out to those re-entering the labour market, from those upskilling for the present to those reskilling for the future. As the retail industry continues to transform, retailers point to apprenticeships as a helpful tool to futureproof their business. Eight in ten (80%) report apprenticeships support them to create a talent pipeline, while seven in ten (75%) highlight upskilling existing staff as a key benefit of apprenticeship training. Retailers point to other benefits of apprenticeship including supporting retention (60%) and meeting critical skills gaps (55%). While many people imagine apprentices to focus on new staff, the survey found that 70% of apprenticeships were for existing staff and only 30% were for new starters. Current apprenticeship programmes offered in retail cover a huge variety of jobs, including digital marketing, retail team leader, supply chain, engineering, finance, HR, property, food science, software development, warehouse operatives. Nonetheless, challenges remain if the apprenticeship scheme is to meet its full potential. Retail starts remain down on the years pre-dating the levy and 85% of retailers identified inflexibility in the funding rules as a key barrier to future growth of the scheme. Fionnuala Horrocks-Burns, Employment and Skills Policy Advisor at the British Retail Consortium said: “The skills required in the retail industry are changing, with greater demand for higher level skills in areas such as digital services and technology. These survey results clearly show retailers are using apprenticeships to equip their workforce with the skills they need for the future as well as bringing new talent into the workplace. “The commitment from retailers to continue investing in apprenticeships is a clear signal of support for the recent reforms. But with any new system, imperfections remain. The government must work with the industry to provide greater funding flexibility to ensure the momentum on apprenticeships is not lost.”

Working together with our hand-picked provider partners, BRC Learning offers high quality leadership and management apprenticeships tailored specifically for the retail industry. In addition to maximising the return on your Apprenticeship Levy, our programmes will help improve long term business performance as well as attract new high-calibre colleagues and develop and motivate existing staff. Find out more at We are now recruiting onto the BRC Retail Leadership Apprenticeship starting July 2019. This is an opportunity for retailers to enrol a small number of employees onto the course, before committing to running a closed group for your business. Spaces are limited so get in touch to find out more! Contact us on 020 7854 8921 or email


50 | spring 2019 | the retailer

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