In an effort to ‘professionalise the sector’ John Lewis is introducing its own university, providing retail qualifications for John Lewis Staff.

John Lewis already provides entry level to level 5 vocational qualifications, but its first Level 6 vocational qualification – equivalent to an honours degree – will be unveiled at the end of the year, aimed at senior management employees.

The work-based qualifications are externally recognised, therefore helping staff who achieve them to progress their retail careers.

Laura Whyte, the personnel director at John Lewis, said: ‘There is an old fashioned view that retail doesn’t offer people long term career opportunities, but that is just no longer the case.

‘Our partners give us our competitive edge, and if we want them to stay with us for the long term, we need to make sure that they have the right skills to meet the challenges we face in an evolving retail environment.’

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