People working in the retail sector are more skilled than ever before, according to a new report.

Skillsmart Retail’s latest Skills Trends data found the number of workers in the sector with no recognised qualification fell from 17% in 2002 to just 11% this year.

Managers are also increasing their skills, with 31% having level-four qualifications – equivalent to the former NVQ – or higher in 2010, compared to 20% in 2002.

The rise reflected the increase in training across the sector, said Beverley Paddey, head of standards and qualifications at Skillsmart Retail.

She added that Morrisons had recently announced that 100,000 of its staff would have achieved level two in retail skills by next year.

“With one in five 16 to 24-year-olds out of work, the UK is realising that vocational qualifications are the way to improve the economy,” Paddey said.

“Ensuring that learners are switched on by their courses, that the qualifications hold currency and that they add real value to UK retailers is the key to driving up retail skills.”

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