Phones4u and Superdrug join apprenticeship offering

Phones4u and Superdrug are just some of the high-street retailers that will offer thousands of new apprenticeship places next year, it has been announced.

Both companies will introduce a further 1,000 apprenticeships each by August, following plans by supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsbury’s to offer another 800 and 465 apprenticeship places respectively by the end of 2009.

The government claimed some 10,000 apprenticeships could be created next year as a result of the new National Apprenticeship Service, announced last week by skills secretary John Denham.

Jo Mackie, HR Director at Superdrug said: “The apprenticeship programmes that we have in place have a direct commercial impact in our stores. The more highly skilled our team members are, the better service they are able to deliver to our customers.”

The head of retail training and development at Phones4u, Eric Gresswell, added: “All new joiners going into our stores are required to complete an apprenticeship in either customer or sales service, while existing employees are also required to train for their qualifications. We’re currently finalising our plans for management apprenticeships across our 400 stores.”

The government has urged employers to offer more apprenticeships since July this year, when the draft Apprenticeships Bill was published. The Bill intends to make it easier for employers to offer the schemes, to help upskill the nation’s workforce in line with the Leitch Review recommendations.

Skills Secretary John Denham said: “We anticipate that one in five of all young people will be undertaking an apprenticeship by the end of the next decade.”

More than 184,000 employees in the UK are on an apprenticeship scheme. By 2020, the government aims to have 250,000 learners start an apprenticeship and 190,000 complete a scheme per year.

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