UK indies called upon to help blaze the trail for new apprenticeship standards

The UK’s retail industry employers are being encouraged to help refine apprenticeship standards as part of the second round of the Government’s Trailblazers initiative.

People 1st, the skills and workforce development charity for the retail industry, has been working with a number of leading retail industry employers, including John Lewis, Boots, Debenhams, Oasis and Warehouse, Sainsburys and The Co-Operative Group, to develop new apprenticeship standards for retailers.

The Co-Operative Group, who is leading the retail apprenticeship trailblazer group, has developed an apprenticeship standard, but now, following the Government’s decision to allow more time to finalise the standards, People 1st is looking to hear from more businesses and SMEs from across the industry on what they believe the standards should be, before they are re-submitted in mid-October.

Annette Allmark, director of strategic policy at People 1st, commented: “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.”

She added, “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, also highlighted the importance of a wide range of businesses providing feedback on the standard:

“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.”

The standards will be available on the People 1st website until 30th September 2014 at