Developing Retail Skills

15 Jan 2015

As part of our commitment to make our centres a positive place for the communities they serve, we've joined up with two initiatives focused on driving local jobs in the retail sector. Retail Path is an exciting new initiative which works in collaboration with shopping centres to provide apprentices with experience in a variety of retail roles. Let's Talk Shop has been established by Barnet Council to help optimise local employment benefits from the major transformation of Brent Cross shopping centre.

Retail Path’s first apprentices have been placed at Highcross Leicester

The BCSC Retail Trust and National Skills Academy have joined forces to deliver the Retail Path programme designed to help young people into employment and choose retail as a career. The programme is set to be delivered across six shopping centres with Highcross Leicester being the first to successfully sign up retailers and apprentices.

After a rigorous process which included rounds of interviews and a full assessment day at Highcross, three young people were awarded apprenticeships. The three apprentices also attended a week long induction before settling into their new roles. 

An additional benefit has been that building relationships with retailers has led to more people securing placements or interviews with potential employers. Overall, launching events with retailers has been an effective way of helping students understand the retail industry and careers.

Let's Talk Shop at Brent Cross, Barnet

Let’s Talk Shop has been set up on behalf of Barnet Council and local schools. The project aims include:

  • Engaging with year 10/11 students
  • Level 1 & 2 Retail Knowledge (Working in partnership with Job Centre Plus)
  • World Host programme

Importance of the initiative

Barnet Council has estimated growth of 10,000 retail related opportunities in the next 5 to 10 years. Let’s Talk Shop is encouraging local people to consider retail related careers as demand in this sector grows. 

Upcoming plans for the Brent Cross Extension will generate new jobs, particularly for people living locally. Many of these opportunities will be in retail and young people, a particular concern in terms of employment, are a target group  expected to benefit significantly. The Let's Talk Shop initiative is a way of ensuring young people are made aware of the opportunities a career in retail can provide and, working with retailers, that they have access to pre-employment training that enables them to be ready to step into roles as the arise.  We are delighted with the positive response this initiative has had from all the stakeholders involved.