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Retail Apprenticeships Guide

Introduction To Retail Apprenticeships
Depending on the sort of retail apprenticeship you want to do, you could be at managerial level within just a few years, gaining qualifications in areas like Retail Skills, Retail Knowledge, Sales, Visual Merchandising and Retail Management along the way. And you'll be doing all of that while putting some money in your pockets at the same time!

There are options for school leavers aged 16 and 18 if you want to learn and earn rather than doing A-levels or going to university and paying tuition fees. Read on for everything you need to know about retail apprenticeships or check out the latest opportunities from the following retail recruiters.



3 year Level 4 Apprenticeship

Our Level 4 F&F Clothing Apprenticeship programme welcomes people with a 'passion for fashion' with a get-go attitude that want to help customers across the world. We'll support you throughout the three year programme, giving you the time to study for your qualification with the Fashion Retail Academy. You will have the opportunity to work in merchandising and buying and be a key part of the team.

Marks and Spencer


18 month Level 4 Retail Management Apprenticeship

On our Management Scheme for School Leavers, you'll spend 18 months experiencing Food, Fashion, Home and Store Operations, culminating in a well recognised certificate in Retail Management, equivalent to a foundation degree. You'll be coached and mentored throughout, managing £multi-million budgets, developing leadership and people management skills. By the time you've finished, you'll be ready to take on the role of a Commercial Manager and responsibility for an entire department.

Pret a Manger


1 year School Leavers Programme

The Pret School Leavers Programme provides an opportunity to start climbing the career ladder straight away. The Pret Academy provides our team members with training to give them the skills need to succeed, along with opportunities to develop into more challenging roles.



18 month School Leaver Programme

Working at Harrods isn’t just about having a job – it’s about having a career. We know you are Harrods’ future and we commit all our resources to helping you grow and expand your skill-set.

Benefit Cosmetics


Beauty Retail Apprenticeship

Benefit Cosmetics are living proof that premium brands don’t have to be serious. We’re here to transform customers into better versions of themselves, and have a ton of fun doing it. This is a fantastic place to be on a total make-up mission. Your training and career prospects will be top of our list – starting with Beauty Retail Apprenticeship and Waxing awards.

How Retail Apprenticeships Vary?
If you are still reading, that means you are definitely interested in gaining structured experience via retail apprenticeships. Working in the UK retail sector is an appealing idea to lots of young people and school leavers out there - and roles within the retail sector can be varied.

Perhaps you like the idea of doing fashion retail jobs and so picture yourself working in a famous high street clothes shop or large department store. Or maybe supermarket jobs and careers come to mind. Or maybe you even picture yourself running your own independent shop or market stall selling a product you are passionate about. The great appeal of the retail sector is its scope, and, no matter what your particular interest is, there should be retail jobs out there to match.

Your Retail Apprenticeships Experience Will Depend On Your Employer Depending on whether you want to focus on food retail, fashion retail apprenticeships, retail healthcare apprenticeships, or other areas, apprenticeships in retail are going to offer different experiences for different people. After all, if you and a friend have both decided to take the route of apprenticeships in retail and you are working on a fresh food counter whilst your friend is working in a large department store in a clothing section, your experiences are not going to be the same.

But the beauty of all types of apprenticeships is that, upon successful completion, you are awarded a standard qualification displaying a regulated set of skills that are recognised nationally. So retail apprenticeships will give you nationally recognised skills and qualifications in that field. Although your experience might completely differ from that of another retail apprentice, you will both have the same skill set that will equip you to work in different types of retail jobs in the future.
What Is Involved With Apprenticeships In Retail?
Retail apprenticeships are not just about shelf stackingOf course, there is going to be shelf stacking and replenishing of stock involved in many retail jobs that you do, especially in retail assistant jobs as part of Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships - but there is so much more to retail apprenticeships than just that.
  • You could be dealing with customers on a daily basis.
  • You could find you prefer behind the scenes work such as stock control.
  • You might find you have a flare for design and decide you want to further develop your skills in visual merchandising in the future.
As mentioned above, there is lots of scope for learning different skills within retail apprenticeships.

What Types Of Retail Apprenticeships Are There? The UK retail sector is vibrant and fast moving so it is an appealing and exciting area to work in. In order to keep the retail industry flourishing in the United Kingdom, it is important that everyone working in the industry is equipped with the skills to make that happen, and, by equipping young people with those skills, the retail sector should have a strong future ahead of it.

That is the aim of retail apprenticeships. And, for you personally, you will also have the base skills under your belt to help you develop your career in the direction you want to take it in, in whatever area of the retail sector you want to focus on. It should be a win-win situation for both you and your employers.
Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships
Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships are designed to give you a basic and broad understanding of what it is like to work in retail jobs - the roles you could work in, the daily duties of those who do retail assistant jobs - and you will also have the opportunity to improve maths and english skills as well as gain knowledge of employee entitlements in the workplace.

What Qualifications Will I Gain In Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships?Unless you already have GCSE Maths and English, everyone who does Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships will gain qualifications in:
  • Maths Functional Skills Level 1
  • English Functional Skills Level 1
You will also gain a competence qualification and a knowledge qualification:
  • Level 2 Certificate in Retail Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Retail Knowledge
These are the mandatory qualifications that you will do in order to successfully complete Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships.

In addition to this, depending on the type of retail environment you are working in and your areas of interest, there will be further units to choose from which will better equip you for carrying out your particular role more effectively. Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships will see you doing retail assistant jobs, and, for completion of the further units, your duties could include:
  • working as a sales assistant
  • being a stockroom / storeroom assistant
  • being a food counter assistant or medicines counter assistant
  • learning how to be a visual merchandiser
  • handling cash and credit cards and processing payments
  • customer care - helping them choose products in store, dealing with their queries and complaints in a professional manner
  • health and safety in the workplace
If you already have an interest in a specialised field, it is also possible to do Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships in a more targeted area.

For example, if pharmaceuticals is of interest to you, it is possible to do an Intermediate Level Retail Healthcare Apprenticeship where you will qualify to be a medicines counter assistant. A further example is Optical Retail Apprenticeships. Whatever your interests, do your research so that you can choose the best Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships to suit you.

Advanced Level Apprenticeships In Retail
By the time you have completed your Intermediate Level Retail Apprenticeships, you should have a good idea of where your interests lie and you have probably identified your particular strengths. Advanced level retail apprenticeships are for those who want to really progress their career and possibly move forward to eventually work in retail manager jobs, running their own stores and departments or being in charge of whole regions.

These Advanced Level Retail Apprenticeships will see you working in more senior positions - in roles with more responsibility over junior staff and over the day to day running of the store or department where you are working.

What Qualifications Will I Gain In Advanced Level Retail Apprenticeships?So, Advanced Level Retail Apprenticeships will require you to choose a pathway for the direction you want to take your retail career. You can choose one of the following three pathways:
  • Sales Professional (Level 3 Diploma in Retail)
  • Visual Merchandising (Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills)
  • Retail Management (Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills)
In addition to this, you will also achieve:
  • Maths Functional Skills Level 2
  • English Functional Skills Level 2
Depending on the particular area you want to specialise in and the type of environment you are working in, Advanced Level Retail Management Apprenticeships could see you in roles such as:
  • senior sales assistant
  • personal shopper, stylist or retail consultant
  • visual merchandiser
  • retail store manager jobs (in a small store)
  • team leader or supervisor - providing support for your team members and organising their duties for the day.
  • health and safety
  • dealing with customer queries and complaints
  • making decisions about the best course of action
Higher Level Retail Management Apprenticeships
The Higher Level Retail Management Apprenticeships are also aimed at those who are keen to develop their leadership qualities and work in retail manager jobs. When you gain the Retail Management Apprenticeships at Level 4, it also means employers know they are employing someone who is equipped with the necessary skills to manage the retail outlet effectively.

What Qualifications Will I Gain In Higher Level Retail Management Apprenticeships?Before you embark on the Higher Level Retail Management Apprenticeships, you must have achieved the level 2 Functional Skills in both Maths and English. On successful completion of your Higher Level Retail Management Apprenticeships, you will be awarded:
  • Level 4 Diploma in Retail Knowledge
  • Level 4 Diploma in Retail Management
Where Can I Do Retail Apprenticeships?
The retail industry is so broad ranging that there is a whole variety of retail jobs out there that could suit you. Doing retail apprenticeships not only makes you more competent in your role, it also shows future employers that you are equipped with the skills they are looking for. So the beauty of retail is that it is an industry that is not confined to just a few specific places. From the United Kingdom’s largest cities to small towns in rural areas, there are shops, markets, stores and outlets that serve the local community. These might be small independent retail stores or branches of national retail chain stores.

So, if you are interested in doing retail apprenticeships, London, for example, does not need to be your first and only stop. Jobs in retail can often be found close to your home and even some of the smaller retail companies could well have retail apprenticeships on offer. This could see you working your way right up to Higher Level Retail Management Apprenticeships so that you can find retail manager jobs.

Apprenticeships are usually an ideal option for school leavers who have decided that the university route is not for them. Hands on training and guidance, sometimes completely based in the workplace and sometimes combined with 'classroom' study, means you can start to build a career right from leaving school.

Apply For Retail Apprenticeships In The UK
So, are retail apprenticeships the route for you? If so, then why not start your research and apply for retail apprenticeships right now?

Browse below and pick out the latest retail apprenticeships which catch your eye. Then apply for an apprenticeship in retail in your area today.

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