Retail charity retailTRUST has worked collaboratively with a group of retailers and the government to develop the new Retail Leader Apprenticeship Degree. The programme will begin next year with at least 400 retail employees.
The level 6 degree is the first initiative of its kind to be approved for the retail sector and helps organisations to develop their employees. It also helps organisations make the most of their apprenticeship levy funds. Over the four- year programme, retailers can claim back up to £22,000 of their levy funds per student.
Apprentices on the scheme will work full-time while studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree, accredited at their chosen university. The programme aims at developing their strategic, technical, managerial and leadership retail skills.
The blended approach to learning combines face-to-face training days with online learning, research and assessment activities. Business projects, negotiated with employers, offer the apprentice the opportunity to apply their learning directly to their organisation and its business context.
Amanda Cox, People and Services Director at Dunelm Group, stated: “This is a real legacy moment for retail – showing through a work-based degree how important retail is as a sector and the amazing careers that people can have within it. I look forward to seeing our first colleagues go through this programme and the skills this gives them to fast track their careers, as well as unlocking their true potential.”
Amy Prendergast, Head of People and Vocational Learning Services at retailTRUST, added: “We are thrilled that the brand new Retail Leader Apprenticeship Degree has been approved for delivery next year. The programme is the first of our supported degrees developed collaboratively with the industry. We have 12 retailers on board and would encourage other businesses to make the most of their levy funds and develop their next generation of leaders.”
Fashion retailers backing the scheme include Paul Smith, Jigsaw, House of Fraser and JD Sports.