From education to employment

Key component in qualifications strategy

A roll call of retail heavyweights have put their impetus into launching a new framework for National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ).

As millions of teenagers spanning the country open their GSCE results today, Skillsmart Retail, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for retail headed by commercial giants such as Tesco and B&Q, are preparing for a September 1st launch. The new framework will give school leavers the opportunity to start developing more advanced retail skills to better prepare them for a job in the industry, with the prospect of moving on to more senior positions.

And exclusively for FE News, Alan Roberts, Skillsmart Executive Chairman said: “We listened very carefully to what employers had to say about the NVQ’s and SVQ’s and how these could be improved. Retailers want to ensure that the right people with the right skills are available to the industry at all times”.

“Skillsmart Retail believes that the new qualifications will also help retailers demonstrate their commitment to training”, Mr Roberts continued. “This is essential if the sector is to continue to employ its current high proportion of young people aged 16 to 24 (the retail sector will need to recruit over 300,000 in that age group over the next three years) and we hope to see a marked increase in the numbers of young people undertaking and achieving these qualifications”.

“The sector has responded very positively so far, recognising that the introduction of these qualifications is a key component in the overall qualifications strategy for the sector”, he added.

Judith Meyrick, Programmes Manager at Skillsmart Retail said: “This new approach to NVQs and SVQs constitutes a huge change to the way in which school-leavers can begin to pursue a career in retail. Their training will be much more job-relevant and will give people much earlier on the opportunity to become the super-sellers and high-flying managers of the future”.

The decision to change came after concerns that the training did not equate to real-time positions and was therefore not conclusive enough in effectively creating the next generation of retail executives. Now redeveloped and looking for a September launch, Skillsmart are confident that the new framework will allow for situations where the individual who shows a flair for selling or management can gradually take on greater responsibilities.

Skillsmart, whose mission it is to create a single, unified qualification and skills framework in order to deliver high quality learners, believes that as a consequence of this new development, school-leavers are much more employable and the rewards greater for employers who invest in on-the-job training.

“In the future employers will be confident that candidates will come to them with qualifications that equip them with all the necessary skills for the workplace”, Judith added.

Vijay Pattni.

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