The first group of students have passed Blakemore Trade Partners’ apprenticeship scheme.

The scheme, launched last summer, was set up by the Spar wholesaler’s retail training centre the Guild Academy to help students develop retail acumen.

Nine students have now been awarded the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Retail Management, designed specifically for the convenience sector.

“The first group of students have all passed the programme, which helped boost their confidence and retail knowledge,” said Melanie Walker, Blakemore Trade Partners’ learning and development manager.

“Now three more groups have enrolled, with the Guild Academy intent on providing this opportunity to stores across the Meridian & Welsh Guild over the coming years.”

The Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Retail Management consists of a number of workshops covering subjects including legislation, health & safety and sales growth. Delegates also complete a work-based project so they can transfer what they have learned into a store environment.

The scheme is the latest success for The Guild Academy, which has trained more than 2,000 retail staff since it was formed in June 2008, with 87% of retailers represented on at least one course.

“Our courses are practical and interactive, and they are constantly reviewed to ensure that they meet retailers’ requirements,” Walker added.