Holland & Barrett will be able to say its staff are “qualified to advise” after gaining government accreditation for its company training scheme.

From next week, the health food retailer will run adverts on TV and in-store to publicise the message that staff are qualified to give customers advice on nutrition and food supplements.

“What was frustrating before was our inability to market our expertise,” said Holland & Barratt CEO Peter Aldis. “We can now say they are quali- fied to advise and allow staff to wear badges accordingly.”

The aim of the scheme is to equip staff with an understanding of ailments, health products and nutrition and the new badges would reassure customers that staff could knowledgeably recommend vitamins and supplements to suit their individual needs, he said.

The highest level qualification offered by Holland & Barrett’s Natural Health Academy takes more than 12 months to obtain and has now been validated as equivalent to an A-Level.

The accreditation meant it would carry more weight outside the company, said Aldis. “Staff really feel that they have gained the recognition they deserve – it will help them in their careers.”

The training scheme already gave employees the opportunity to earn up to 50% more money and helped improve staff retention, which was industry leading, claimed Aldis.

Sta turnover at Holland & Barratt is 35% and at manager and supervisor level is 12% to 14%.