The UK government have announced that from 6th April 2017, all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3million each year are required to invest in apprenticeships. What affect will this have on employers? And, what opportunities in the retail and shopping centre industry will the next generation of graduates have available?
There is already an apprenticeship scheme in place in the form of ‘retail path’. This scheme was set up by REVO (BCSC Educational Trust) and the National Skills Academy to help deliver apprenticeship programmes to UK shopping centres and encourage young people to consider a career in retail. This scheme, alongside the governments’ new levy, will offer opportunities and encourage more individuals to enter the shopping centre/retail market.
It has recently been declared that Paula Nickolds has become the first female managing director at John Lewis. Paula joined the retail group 22 years ago as a graduate trainee – very timely news with the new levy coming into place. Paula’s promotion has received a remarkable amount of publicity and will hopefully be a real inspiration to graduates.
Foundation Recruitment are a proud sponsor of the ICSC’s Next Generation programme, a platform for up and coming individuals in the shopping centre sector who are key players and strong prospects for future leaders in the industry. Both this and ‘retail path’ are great initiatives to encourage career progression in the industry.
The initial news of the apprenticeship levy, understandably, may be a seen as a challenge for centres, however, there are numerous benefits it can bring:
A benefit for the apprentice is the pool of new opportunities that will become available, finding a career is becoming increasingly difficult so this will be an excellent advantage for them. As a fashion marketing graduate myself, I have witnessed first hand the competitiveness of the fashion industry and I really believe, shopping centre and retail apprenticeships will be highly sought after by these graduates – working in shopping centre management is a great opportunity to get experience in a highly related industry. Additionally, this will benefit centres as the fashion graduates will have a good understanding of current and upcoming trends; be able to assist with live fashion shows; work with tenants to create strategies and advise what brands should be brought into the centre – graduates such as these could have young knowledge that is invaluable to centres.
I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact the new levy will have on the shopping centre management structure.
Kat Whitehead, Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment