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Every little helps: Tesco degree fits the bill


The first employer-led foundation degree for the retail industry is being officially ‘launched’ next week, after a successful pilot with Tesco.

The foundation degree - awarded by the University of the Arts, London and Manchester Metropolitan University - is delivered through a combination of workshops, work-based learning and online tutorials. The first Tesco students to start the degree began their studies in September 2007 at both universities.

“The degree has been designed by business, for business, and Tesco is proud to be continuing to shape the future of training for the wider retail sector,” explained David Potts, retail and logistics director, Tesco.

Members of parliament will be joined by senior figures from major retailers, sector skills councils, higher education institutions and training providers at the official launch on 23 April, where they’ll also discuss the wider aims of the retail foundation degree - its goals are to improve business performance by supporting workforce development in the retail sector.

Derek Longhurst, chief executive, fdf (Foundation Degree Forward) commented:
“The spirit behind the retail foundation degree is not simply to close existing skills gaps but to equip staff for the challenges that the retail industry poses and develop further competitive advantage for businesses in this key sector.

“Tesco has been an essential partner in shaping the content of this work-based foundation degree to ensure that it is fit for purpose for the retail sector. As foundation degrees are about supporting industries to address sector-specific higher level knowledge and skills requirements, we are delighted to be launching the retail qualification to encourage an industry wide qualified and motivated workforce.”

David Potts, retail and logistics director, Tesco, added:
“A successful retailer needs a workforce that is motivated, focused and trained to be able to work hard to deliver what our customers want. As a principle, we try to recruit from within wherever possible. This makes our qualification-based training essential.

“The retail foundation degree is the latest qualification-based training available to Tesco employees. We recognise our staff value accreditation and validation from training and development, and have spent the last four years exploring innovative ways we can develop our employees’ skills. In 2004 we launched our apprenticeship programme, and have used the successful ‘business as usual’ approach we used to develop this scheme to create the new foundation degree.

“We have designed the foundation degree to fit the needs of Tesco, in terms of student selection, course content and delivery model, and our new students are already telling us how it meets their individual needs.


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