Four independent retailers are being offered the chance to attend three free masterclasses designed by Mary Portas.

The free training, worth more than £1,000 and provided courtesy of Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail, will equip retailers with skills to improve their businesses.

"Portas is regarded as one of this country's leading retail experts and the masterclasses have proved a huge hit for small and medium retailers," said Skillsmart Retail chief executive Anne Seaman.

The three masterclasses are: My shop, my future: building, mobilising and maintaining a vision for your business; Selling and service skills: standing out from the crowd with customer service that brings success; and Creating desire: visual merchandising and the 'wow' factor to set your shop apart. The prize covers two nights' stay in London with breakfast and lunch on all three days, from 25 to 27 January.

The courses offer step-by-step guides, workshops and video case studies which are taught within 32 retail skills shops on high streets and in shopping centres. "We have huge multiples that are driving in with sophisticated operations and we need to bring that sophistication and knowledge in a different way to independents," said Portas.

For more information go to www.nsaforretail.com/maryportasscholarships.