House of Fraser, Jigsaw, Dunelm and JD Sports are among the list of major retailers that have backed a new degree designed for retail employees.
The new Retail Leader Apprenticeship Degree is the first in a series of supported courses for retail that have been approved for delivery next year, which was developed by the RetailTrust in collaboration with 12 retailers and the government.
The programme will begin next year with at least 400 retail employees.
The level 6 degree is the first of its kind to be approved for the retail sector and aims to help organisations to develop their employees.
It enables businesses to enhance their offer of a career in retail and widen the search for talented people who will see the retail industry as a career of choice.
The degree 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 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.
Academic learning in the combination of in-class training days with online learning, research and assessments, is integrated with practical on-the-job experience.
Business projects, negotiated with employers, will also offer the apprentice the opportunity to apply their learning directly to their organisation and its business context.
“We are thrilled that the brand new Retail Leader Apprenticeship Degree has been approved for delivery next year,” RetailTrust head of people and vocational learning services Amy Prendergast said.
“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.”