Retailer John Lewis is to provide staff with the opportunity to study for degrees under a scheme dubbed “University of John Lewis”.
It plans to introduce a Level 6 vocational qualification, equivalent to an honours degree, by the end of this year, aimed at staff in senior management roles. This is in addition to the retailer’s existing qualification programme, which allows workers to progress from entry-level qualifications.
Other sectors of industry already offer degree opportunities as school leavers, deterred by tuition fees, shun university in favour of the workplace.
John Lewis personnel director Laura Whyte said: “There is an old-fashioned view that retail doesn’t offer people long-term career opportunities, but that is just no longer the case.
“Our partners give us our competitive edge, and if we want them to stay with us for the long-term, we need to make sure that they have the right skills to meet the challenges we face in an evolving retail environment.”