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House of Fraser boss urges retailers to support retail diploma

House of Fraser chief executive John King has called for more retailers to support Skillsmart Retail’s new retail diploma, which will launch next year.

King, who is a patron of Skillsmart Retail, the industry body which has helped developed the Diploma in Retail Business, said that the qualification would give young people new opppotunities to enter a career in retail.

Students on the diploma course, which starts next year, will be able to gain work experience at retail businesses, including House of Fraser, as part of their studies, and King said he was in talks with other high street names to offer similar opportunities.

Speaking at the launch of the diploma at the Upskilling for Recovery reception at the House of Commons yesterday, King said: “If you are a retailer, get on board. Our stores will act as a laboratory, with store managers as mentors for people running the courses and the diploma will give a generation of young people the opportunities that it has never had. They will be able to come into a retail career and hit the ground running.”

King said that House of Fraser was also planning “open days” at its stores for parents and prospective students in December and February. “We want to open our stores after hours to show people that working in a store is not just about stacking shelves and show retail in all its glory,” he said.

The Diploma in Retail Business will be for 14 to 19 year-olds in England and is designed to sit alongside GCSE’s, A-levels and Apprenticeships, and will be accepted by most universities in the UK. The courses will feature a mix of classroom learning and work experience placements.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, also supported the diploma course, saying that there was no better time to invest in training than now.

“There’s a view that there are no jobs for life and people should have transferable skills,” Justin King said.

“But the things that will help people is stay is giving them the skills and training. We’ve posted some good recent results and that’s because we keep investing in keeping the business better and different.”

He added that the diploma would help stop people thinking that retail was an inferior industry to work for.

For more on the Diploma in Retail Business, see Drapers magazine, June 6.

For careers in fashion retail visit the Drapers Jobs Site.




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