The UK’s second largest grocer Asda launched an inter-company college for retail qualifications last weekend and today reported that it has already had 3,000 colleagues sign up.
It hopes that as many as 25,000 of the retailer’s employees will pass courses at the Asda Skills Academy by the end of 2012, with different levels of achievement available equivalent to GCSEs, A-Levels and HNDs respectively.
Asda has launched the scheme in association with awarding body City & Guilds, and believes that ensuring its staff members are trained in these professional qualifications will give a significant boost to business and these employees.
Speaking at this week’s British Retail Consortium Retail Symposium, Asda CEO Andy Clarke commented: “I know personally just how important it is to learn new skills, and how life changing they can be for a young person starting out.
“At Asda, we don’t just offer our colleagues a job, we give them the opportunity to build a fulfilling career in retail.
“Our new academy gives colleagues a bespoke training programme that allows them to develop their skills and careers in a way that suits them.”
Research from City & Guilds has found that nine out of ten employers now view vocationally trained people as vital to the success of their business.
At a time of squeezed budgets it is encouraging to see such a large retailer providing extensive training to it workforce but it is not just the large organisation which can improve their employees’ skills.
The National Skills Academy for Retail announced today that it is offering small and medium-sized retailers help accessing up to £1,000 of financial support for leadership and management training.
Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, said: “Smaller retailers do not have the money to pay for training and are often reluctant to apply for funding because they fear that the application process will be complicated and time consuming.
“That’s where we come in. We can help retailers access this funding, giving them the opportunity to go on top-class training.”