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STAFF PASS WITH FLYING COLOURS; Academy One graduates on learning curve.

Byline: NEIL HODGSON

MORE than 30 staff at the Liverpool One branch of Debenhams have achieved their Retail Skills Level 2 certificate.

Their training was part of a pioneering deal with Academy One, a partnership between retail centre Liverpool One, the National Skills Academy for Retail, and Birkenhead training provider Scientiam.

Debenhams is one of several major retail brands, including Asda and TK Maxx, to commit to training with Academy One.

Thirty three Debenhams staff took part in 14 weeks of training to improve their retail and customer service skills. Following on from their success, 25 have now signed up to study for Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships.

Debenhams store trainer Maureen Scollins said the learners came from a broad range of departments.

"We had learners aged 18 upwards and from departments such as lingerie, children's wear, food services, stock replacement and the loading bay.

"We wanted to open the training up to all and were very pleased that so many staff wanted to learn and gain qualifications."

She added: "Debenhams Liverpool One now has a much more skilled workforce and this cascades across the business and to the customers.

"There is tangible value to the retail skills training with Academy One and on the back of this success we will now be committing to apprenticeships."

Scientiam managing director Jayne Worthington said: "The partnership with Debenhams has been a big success and we are very pleased to see their commitment to investing time and support in their workforce.

"They recognise that staff development is key to their success and I must congratulate everyone who has achieved the Retail Skills certificate. I hope our partnership will continue to flourish and we can further develop the skills of Debenhams employees."

Academy One is based within the pounds 1bn Liverpool One centre and offers a range of training programmes to suit learners and employers across the Liverpool region.

Sara Carthy, Liverpool One HR director, said: "During these challenging economic times the focus on customer service training and the up-skilling of staff is not always given the priority it deserves.

"The investment and fantastic results that Debenhams Liverpool One has achieved in partnership with Academy One are a credit to the team."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2011
Words:368
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