Sainsbury’s to offer entire workforce nationally recognised qualifications

Posted by Isobel Drake on 10th November 2008

UK retailer Sainsbury’s is to become the first British retailer and largest employer to offer its entire workforce of 150,000 colleagues the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications, supporting the UK Government’s strategy to boost skills amongst the workforce.
The supermarket’s chief executive, Justin King and Secretary of State for Skills, John Denham, launched the nationwide initiative which is open to all new and existing colleagues.

The Level 1 numeracy and literacy qualification supports those who want to brush up on their maths and English skills and at the same time gain a nationally recognised qualification. The decision to offer qualifications came after recent research identified a lack of confidence as the biggest barrier to learning, which is why they ensure Level 1 training is completely confidential and can be undertaken without the involvement of line managers or peers.

Through embedded training in the work place, Sainsbury’s is also the first retailer to offer every colleague the opportunity to achieve an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) level 2 qualification. The Level 2 NVQ recognises colleagues’ skills and capabilities as all ‘on the job training’ will be credited towards the qualification. This means that the essential training required to work in areas such as stock control, visual merchandising, health and safety and administration will now count towards an NVQ level 2 qualification.

“I commend Sainsbury’s for taking this step. We know that those companies that invest in skills are best equipped to weather tough economic times, and are also best placed to capitalise on opportunities for growth,” Mr Denham advised.

“This launch demonstrates that learning never stops at Sainsbury’s and every one of our colleagues can improve their skills, which not only benefits our customers, but also supports our colleagues to achieve their full potential,” Sainsbury’s CEO, Justin King, said. “It is our intention that at least 25% of our colleagues will achieve a nationally recognised qualification in the next five years.”