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More than 50% of B&Q employees have enrolled for City & Guilds qualifications

Latest figures released by B&Q the UK's leading home improvement and garden centre retailer, show that over 17,000 of its employees have either enrolled on or completed a work-related qualification this year. More than 50 per cent of their work force have studied towards a Retail Skills NVQ, Home Improvement Knowledge Qualification or Retail Apprenticeship, developed in partnership with City & Guilds.

B&Q is now the largest user of City & Guilds qualifications in the retail sector. To mark this milestone, the retailer will be rolling out new badged aprons to its store teams so that customers will know that they are being served by an expert with a City & Guilds qualification. The new aprons will be in store by Christmas

Edwina McQueen, Head of City & Guilds for Business says; "We're very excited about the investment and focus that B&Q is giving to its qualifications programmes. Their attitude to diversity and their commitment to qualifying tens of thousands of their employees makes their scheme the biggest and most innovative in the industry. Companies who continue to invest in their people even during the most economically challenging times will be the ones who win at the end of the day."

"If you walk in to B&Q and meet a friendly person with a badge saying they've got a City & Guilds qualification, you're going to know you're getting expert advice - City & Guilds is a powerful brand. This level of expertise gives our people a real point of difference in the market place."

In September B&Q announced the launch of its Showroom Academy, a training school designed to give its showroom employees even better product, service and design skills across kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, carpets, flooring and show room appliances in the run up to its biggest ever Showroom January Sale. As more and more customers choose to improve their homes rather than move, B&Q is growing its showroom business and in May of this year announced an £18m showroom expansion plan. A total of 4,000 employees, aged 16 to 82 and across the chain's 330 stores in UK and ROI, have completed a City & Guilds approved, nationally recognised Home Improvement Knowledge Qualification. The Academy represented an investment of around £2 million.

This year the retailer has also launched its apprenticeship programme, and with employees aged from 18 to 70, the scheme is believed to be the most diverse apprenticeship scheme in the industry. The Apprenticeship is a 12 month programme of learning and qualifications that they will complete while doing their job giving them the skills, knowledge and confidence to progress their career in their chosen field.

Source : International Supermarket News

09 December 2010
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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