The site has been developed with backing from several retail giants including John Lewis Partnerships, Marks & Spencer and the British Council for Shopping Centres. It will provide news and information about the proposed academy, to be called the National Skills Academy for Retail, and feed back views about how the academy should develop.
“It will be a one-stop shop for retail skills and provide access to world class skills and business support for retailers, whatever their size and their location,” said Skillsmart retail project director Jane Rexworthy.
Among the topics covered will be the planned retail diploma qualification, which is due to be launched in schools and colleges in September 2010 to encourage young people to consider a career in retail.
Meanwhile the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) said the retail sector has shown the second highest level of interest in its £900m Train to Gain service. About 7,382 retail employers had contacted Train to Gain in the year to the end of August 2007.
This represented 14% of all inquiries, compared to 19% from the health and social work sector where more than 10,000 employers had “shown an interest” – in LSC-speak – in Train to Gain.
The LSC said almost 230,000 employees had begun learning through Train to Gain by 31 August and 96,000 of them had completed Level 2 (five good GCSE’s or equivalent) qualifications.