from Mike Tomlinson, chairman of the 14-19 Working Group for Educational Reform

Sir; The retail industry makes a crucial contribution to the UK’s economy. This is why it’s so important our education system is able to produce employees of the future who are able to thrive in a competitive world.

The Working Group on 14-19 Reform was established to tackle a number of longstanding weaknesses in the present education system, including a lack of basic skills among our young people. We have been working with a range of stakeholders, including the retail industry, to better understand the skills you need to ensure the UK’s retail industry remains globally competitive.

We want to hear your views on reform of the secondary education system. How could things be improved? Which skills are most important to you and your company? Where are skills deficiencies most acute? Your contribution will help form part of the Working Group’s final recommendations to the government due to be published in the autumn.

A key element of our proposed diploma is ensuring all those who leave school are equipped with the core skills - team building, communication, self-management - that they will need to succeed in the working world. We believe you deserve employees who can make an immediate contribution to the business.

This is your opportunity to play a part in helping to create a secondary education system which we can all be proud of and which will help ensure our economic prosperity.

It is imperative that our proposals reflect the needs and concerns of all those working in the retail industry. So have your say. We have set up a hotline - 0207 255 5421 - which you can contact anytime.