Morrisons is to expand its Retail Skills training programme after the first 20,000 staff achieved QCF qualifications.

The supermarket claims to have trained the largest ever number of employees on a vocational learning programme at any one time in the UK.

The first phase of Retail Skills trained members of staff working in the Market Street areas of the store, such as fresh food counters, the deli and cake shop, to QCF (formerly NVQ) Level 2.

Now the scheme has been opened up to staff working in the café, canteen, petrol, wines & spirits, warehouse and home & leisure departments.

"The training brings direct benefits for our customers, as well as providing colleagues with the opportunity to develop a career from shop floor to top floor," said Morrisons Group HR director Norman Pickavance. "There are significant economic benefits when employers like ourselves make a real investment in training staff to a high standard, whether that is in traditional craft skills like butchery and bakery or retail food skills and management."

Morrisons launched the nationally recognised qualification scheme at the end of 2009 to "reinforce the company's 'growing its own' philosophy" and provide employees long-term career development.

Morrisons aims to train 100,000 colleagues to QCF Level 2 by 2011.