Retail Apprenticeships Hit Record Levels

Theo Paphitis joins Skillsmart Retail to call for more retailers to take up the programme during Apprenticeship Week 2010.

Retail Apprenticeships rose by nearly a third to reach record levels last year, Skillsmart Retail announced today.

Figures released by the Sector Skills Council revealed that 5,900 Retail Apprenticeships were awarded in England in the academic year of 2008/9 – up 31% from 4,500 in 2007/8.

The news comes in the run-up to Apprenticeship Week; a seven day celebration of Apprentices running from Monday 1st February to Friday 5th February 2010.

Theo Paphitis, Chairman of stationery specialists Ryman and a Skillsmart Retail Patron, applauded retailers on their involvement in Apprenticeships and called on more of them to explore the benefits during the week.

Theo Paphitis said:

“Today’s news is yet another sign that retailers are continuing to realise the benefits of the programme. Apprenticeships are good for employers and good for businesses so I urge all retailers to think about the enormous value they can deliver.”

Anne Seaman, CEO of Skillsmart Retail, said:

“Retailers regularly tell us that Apprenticeships work for them as they allow their staff to learn on the job while getting the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to excel. Apprenticeship Week provides an excellent opportunity for retailers to find out more about the programme and I would urge businesses of all sizes to find out more about the what benefits they can bring.”

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes and the majority of the training is on the job. The programme takes between six to eighteen months to complete depending on the employee’s work experience. In many cases Government funding is available to support employers.

Retailers who want to find out more about Retail Apprenticeships or want more information about Skillsmart Retail go to

Independent retailers looking to deliver Apprenticeships can also contact their local National Skills Academy for Retail skills shop, details of which can be found at

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