Irish retailers move to adapt to new age of technology

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Almost 70,000 training days were facilitated in 2017 as Irish retailers continued to embrace work-based learning. That’s according to the latest figures published today from Retail Ireland Skillnet, the education and training division of Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector.

Manager of Retail Ireland Skillnet Sean Carlin said: “The Irish retailing landscape has changed dramatically in the last number of years due to the constant development of online technologies and the consistent rise in consumers opting to acquire goods and services via the internet. Last year, over 1,600 retail employees participated different courses as progressive retailers recognised the key to unlocking new opportunities and riding the wave of change is through the education of their employees.

“Our mission is to offer work-based training and education which is developed by retailers and delivered at a time, place and pace to suit the sector. Courses are designed and delivered in conjunction with industry and address the challenges and opportunities faced by employers in today’s dynamic business environment.

“The concept of work based learning is extremely attractive to employers and employees alike as assessments are linked to real life issues impacting retailers on a daily basis. In 2018, Retail Ireland Skillnet are expecting to surpass all previous year’s training numbers as progressive Irish retailers interest in work based learning and upskilling employees heightens to new levels”.

Retail Ireland Skillnet’s Student of the Year 2017 Yvonne Daly, a mother of 4 and Spar Store Manager in Mayo, is a prime example of the calibre of students who undertake the degree. She said: “The degree enabled me to generate lots of innovative ideas to bring back to improve our family business. For example, marketing, social media, signage and stock management are all areas that I have taken from this qualification and tailored to help improve my business.

I would absolutely recommend the degree to employees. While bigger organisations may have extra support in place, smaller businesses need opportunities like this.”

Over the last number of years, Retail Ireland Skillnet have developed QQI certified work based learning programmes for the retail sector ranging from Operational to Degree and Masters level courses, all of which are 50% funded by government. The Degree in Retail Management Practice which is delivered in conjunction with Letterkenny Institute of Technology has currently almost 200 retail employees enrolled on the programme. This Degree is delivered in Dublin and Galway and involves 17-20 days of classroom delivery per year combined with significant e-learning and independent learning.