What are retail apprenticeships? (With list of examples)

Updated 8 September 2023

As retail is a rapidly developing industry, organisations of different sizes and scopes become more and more demanding when selecting candidates. Hiring managers frequently search not only for key skills and experience but also require applicants to have relevant apprenticeships. Knowing about the different types of apprenticeships that are available helps you choose your specialisation and advance your career. In this article, we define what retail apprenticeships are, outline the most common types of apprenticeships in this field and list some organisations that provide such training.

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What are retail apprenticeships?

Retail apprenticeships are role-specific training programmes that give you essential skills and knowledge in a range of customer-facing fields. In addition, it may serve as a competitive advantage when searching for job opportunities. As employers who operate within the retail industry frequently require candidates to have relevant education or training, you may consider apprenticeships as an alternative to a diploma or bachelor's degree. You may also conduct preliminary research to make an informed decision when choosing a career path and to pursue an apprenticeship specific to your job or sector.


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6 kinds of apprenticeships for retail employees

As retail professionals work in a wide variety of fields and perform different duties, there are many apprenticeships that differ in scope. Although some of the positions on this list may only have a limited number of apprenticeship placements available, they comprise some of the most common jobs available in retail. Here are six apprenticeship specialisations you may want to consider:

1. Sales assistant

Sales assistant or sales associate is one of the most common positions in the retail industry. These professionals apply their skills and experience to help customers make purchasing decisions. They're also responsible for improving the customer experience and building trusting relationships. This allows organisations to expand their loyal customer base and attract new audiences. Sales assistants perform such duties as recommending products and services, providing information about these products, taking payments from customers, offering assistance and answering questions. These professionals benefit from having strong communication skills and knowing about effective sales techniques.

Related: What does a sales assistant do? (And how to become one)

2. Retail manager

Even though employers usually require retail managers to have at least a bachelor's degree, you may secure this position with a relevant apprenticeship. Retail managers are responsible for managing an organisation's retail outlets, which may involve human resources and inventory management. Their duties include developing and implementing strategies to promote stores, hiring and training employees, managing costs and writing reports to reflect a store's performance.

Related: What is omnichannel retail? (Benefits and implementation)

3. Travel consultant

Travel consultants or travel agents are responsible for providing their customers with assistance when planning personal or work travel. This job may require you to have certain role-specific skills and knowledge. For example, travel agents may visit different destinations to make informed recommendations to their clients. Their responsibilities also include providing clients with information about any documents they may require during their trips, making adjustments if changes arise, scheduling flights and transfers and ensuring that the trip expenses don't exceed a specific budget.

Related: A guide to retail vs. wholesale: what's the difference?

4. Supply chain manager

Supply chain or logistics managers are responsible for optimising the process of storing and transporting raw materials and products. They also ensure that the amount of raw materials corresponds with the production rate. In some cases, they may also manage store inventory and ensure that warehouses have enough space to store products before distribution. This role may also involve communicating with suppliers and collaborating with other departments to optimise logistics and ensure the continuous operation of an organisation.

Related: What does a supply chain manager do? (And how to become one)

5. Style consultant

Style consultants and beauty advisors are responsible for helping customers choose products to improve their professional or personal image. They may specialise in cosmetology or fashion to provide their clients with recommendations. They perform duties such as greeting customers, answering questions about products, sharing knowledge about products, maintaining a friendly environment and improving the customer experience.

6. Digital marketer

Digital marketers use digital technologies to develop and implement marketing campaigns and promote their organisation's products or services. Therefore, these specialists require computer literacy and marketing skills. This job involves managing marketing campaigns and cooperating with other professionals in the marketing department. They also perform such duties as communicating with key stakeholders, monitoring the progress of a campaign, assessing target audiences and using the latest technologies to achieve their goals.

Related: How to become a digital marketer (a step-by-step guide)

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11 retail organisations with apprenticeship opportunities

Here's a list of 11 retail organisations that provide apprenticeship opportunities:

1. Aldi

Aldi provides two training opportunities with its Logistics Apprenticeship and Stores Apprenticeship programmes. Logistics Apprenticeship is a level two programme that allows you to learn about supply chain management techniques while sharing knowledge with experienced specialists. This apprenticeship takes from a year to a year and a half to complete. Aldi's Stores Apprenticeship Programme allows applicants to receive Level 2 or Level 3 retail qualifications depending on their previous qualifications.

2. Asda

Asda offers a flexible apprenticeship programme that allows you to work in different departments and choose your specialisations once you gain sufficient experience. Their Business Services Apprenticeship Programme may serve as an opportunity to develop role-specific skills in fields such as customer support, payroll management, human resource management and finance. You may consider this programme if you didn't find your ideal career path yet.

3. Boots

Boots offers applicants an opportunity to become permanent team members through its apprenticeship programmes. The company provides a variety of apprenticeship programmes in such fields as marketing, human resource management, management, finance and supply chain management. Their apprenticeships range from one to four years and allow applicants to gain practical experience.

4. EE

EE offers apprenticeship opportunities in several fields, including customer service and retail. EE focuses on helping people with limited work experience develop role-specific skills and gain a recognised qualifications. As with most apprenticeships, the company require applicants to be at least 16 years old to be eligible.

5. Greggs

Greggs allows job seekers to start their careers with a Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship programme. Both apprenticeships take 12 to 18 months and cover between 15 and 16 modules. You may consider these programmes if you want to start or advance a career in retail.

6. Harrods

Harrods offers an apprenticeship programme that usually lasts for 18 months. It helps participants develop relevant retail skills and gain experience. Their programme consists of six modules that cover a broad range of fields, including finance, communications and marketing.

7. Morrisons

Morrisons provides applicants with several apprenticeships in different areas. These include retail management, finance and logistics. You may also choose training programmes in butchery, fishmongery and baking if you want to work in their stores. Their apprenticeships usually take 18 months to finish, regardless of the field you choose.

8. Nationwide

Nationwide is an organisation that provides a wide variety of apprenticeship opportunities for applicants of different levels. Therefore, you may receive different levels of qualifications upon completion, including intermediate and degree-level qualifications. If you're planning on earning a degree, your apprenticeship programme may take three to five years.

9. Nestlé

Nestlé offers a broad range of apprenticeships in different fields, including retail. As Nestlé is a large international organisation, you may find positions in different departments that reflect your specialisation. For example, you may pursue a training programme in digital marketing, finance, supply chain management or sales.

10. Tesco

You may consider Tesco if you want to pursue an apprenticeship in business management. This training helps you develop essential skills, such as human resource management skills to supervise stores and other retail outlets. It also allows you to gain work experience and practical knowledge.

11. Tui

Tui offers apprenticeships in the travel retail field. It developed a number of training programmes to help applicants learn about customer service practices and digital marketing techniques. This option might be particularly helpful for individuals who want to pursue a career within the travel industry.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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