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Retails leaders educate over 6,800 young people about the industry

Retail’s leaders educate over 6,800 young people about the industry

Growing sector needs to attract new young talent

The National Skills Academy for Retail is appealing to schools and colleges to enhance their careers advice on retail by utilising the Retail Ambassador Programme, to help attract young talent into the sector.

Retail Ambassadors work in retail and volunteer their time to champion the industry to young people around the UK. Since the programme’s launch in 2009, over 270 retail professionals from a range of retailers, including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis Partnership and Clinton Cards, have become Ambassadors, talking to over 6,800 students.

As one of the country’s growing sectors and with the rapid evolution of online shopping, retail needs to attract ambitious, forward-thinking people to be the industry’s future leaders. The Retail Ambassadors Programme is one proven way to promote the industry and get the best young talent into it.

Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail said: “This is an exciting and changing time for the sector, and we need to make sure young people know the opportunities available, so they think about a career in it. Unfortunately, when it comes to retail, a lot of young people do not realise there are over 150 career opportunities available, from PR and finance to HR and visual merchandising. The scale of opportunities are vast, you can start at 16 on the shop floor and end up at 40 as a CEO of your own company. The Retail Ambassador Programme outlines the range of jobs on offer and gives young people the chance to ask questions to someone working directly in the sector.” 

Retail Ambassadors come from all levels of retail, from shop floor to boardroom level, and a range of companies including independent shops, supermarkets and high street stores. 

Suzanne Burnett, HR Planning Manager for Marks & Spencer has been a Retail Ambassador for nearly three years. She said: “When I left university I wanted my career to be in a fast paced, varied and challenging environment but didn’t realise until I joined the sector, that these aspirations matched perfectlywith retail! I love my role and the many opportunities open to me. As a Retail Ambassador I use my experience to help young people understand the reality of retail, including the careers that are available, and I am proud to beinspiring the young talent of the future to consider retail as an attractive and viable career option.”

The programme has been a huge hit with teachers and careers officers at schools and colleges around the UK.

Diana James, School Business Links Manager at Islington Council said: "The Retail Ambassador programme has been a fantastic way of sourcing professionals from retail to work with young people in Islington's secondary schools. Through the programme we have had the opportunity to develop a closer relationship with some companies such as Marks & Spencer who have helped us develop learning resources relevant to the curriculum for pupils."

For more information please www.nsaforretail.comor emailretail.ambassadors@nsaforretail.com.

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