Modern Apprenticeships in the Retail Sector: Stresses, strains and support

Thomas Spielhofer, David Sims

01 January 2004

This report presents findings from an NFER study undertaken as part of the Skills for All research programme on the use of Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) in retailing. In the light of the UK need for relevant skills to compete in global markets, concerns have been raised about the lack of take-up and completion of MAs in retailing - one of the largest UK employment sectors. The study was based on interviews with key informants and an analysis of inspection reports from nine training providers with the main focus on challenges facing MAs and strategies for combating them. Challenges focus on the ‘short-termism’ approach of both employers and employees, generally low skills, motivation and expectations of employees, difficulties in accessing training for MAs, and questions as to the suitability of the qualification for the retail sector. Strategies for promoting the wider take-up of MAs are outlined and relate to providing effective support for both employers and employees primarily through the wider involvement of training providers.

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