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BRC and Skillsmart back government proposal

The British Retail Consortium and Skillsmart Retail, the sector skills council for retail, have supported a Government pledge to increase skills in the workplace.

The two organisations today welcomed the latest plans to increase apprenticeship numbers and encourage businesses to offer accredited training.

BRC director of business environment Jane Milne said that in the past vocational training qualifications had not met employers' needs.

However, she added: "Accrediting these in-house programmes results in more relevant qualifications and gives businesses the recognition they deserve for investing in skills.”

Both groups are keen to ensure the plans are appropriate for the sector. Skillsmart Retail chief executive Anne Seaman said: “We welcome any moves by the Government to encourage skills development in the sector. These moves have clear links with the qualifications and apprenticeship strategies for retail that aim to increase uptake by driving up the quality of delivery of these programmes.

"But while we are supportive of measures to increase the number of apprenticeships available, the Government must not sacrifice quality. Apprenticeships must be relevant and structured to ensure they are genuinely viewed as a useful alternative to traditional “academic” qualifications.

"It is also imperative that businesses are able to adapt their apprenticeship programmes to suit changing business needs.”

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