Redwood Consulting was appointed one year ago to provide communications consultancy for Retail Path, the retail property industry’s apprenticeship scheme operated by the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) Educational Trust and National Skills Academy for Retail.

Retail Path has gone from strength to strength following a year of media and ‘marcomms’ wins including significant profile in leading trade publications. The programme has also seen bespoke vox pop videos, devised by Redwood, played at the BCSC Annual Dinner and Golds Awards, to allow Retail Path’s apprentices to showcase directly to the industry at large what they have gained from being a part of the programme.

After a successful first year, we were pleased to announce Retail Path had secured new commitment from Queensberry Real Estate, Capital & Regional and Ellandi to appoint and train retail property apprentices, as well as re-commitment from Hammerson.

All four landlords are recruiting apprentices through Retail Path, providing them with a 360-degree perspective of life within a shopping centre. They will aim to give the apprentices practical experience in the different specialisms required to efficiently operate a shopping centre, from centre and facilities management to sales.

Queensberry Real Estate will roll out the apprenticeship programme at its Friars Walk scheme which launched in November last year, delivering 1,200 jobs worth £15 million in salaries to the local economy. Capital & Regional and Ellandi will do the same at The Mall, Camberley and The Strand, Bootle respectively. Hammerson, which piloted the scheme in 2015 and has now committed to a second year with Retail Path, will again recruit apprentices at Highcross Leicester shopping centre.

We look forward to working with all our Retail Path partners throughout the coming year and we are sure you’ll all hear from us again when we’re ready to announce further news. In the meantime, if you want to find out more about the programme click here.

Hear from the landlords involved:
Mark Bourgeois, Executive Director, Capital & Regional said: “Retail Path is making a significant contribution to the future success of our industry, but more importantly it is giving these young people a route into rewarding employment. The programme gives young people the opportunity to learn about the breadth of careers available in the retail property industry. We are proud to be a part of Retail Path and will be appointing our first apprentices at The Mall in Camberley in the coming year.”

Paul Sargent, Chief Executive, Queensberry Real Estate commented: “As an industry, we have a responsibility to invest in future generations, something we take very seriously at Queensberry Real Estate. Retail Path provides a clear and vitally important route for achieving this by giving young people the skills they need to forge their careers. The opening of Friars Walk is a pivotal marker in the regeneration of Newport, which will now not only support 1,200 jobs in the city centre but provide an opportunity for many young people to learn the skills needed for a successful career in retail.”

Mark Robinson, Property Director, Ellandi said: “Retail and retail property forms the heart of each community and is often the first experience that people get in the workplace; one of my first jobs was as a Saturday boy in Top Shop in Bury St Edmunds! The Retail Path initiative offers a structured series of stepping stones for enthusiastic and entrepreneurial youngsters to start a career in the retail industry and understand what a key role retail has on their community and the wider UK economy.”

David Atkins, Chief Executive, Hammerson said: “Partnering with BCSC Educational Trust, the National Skills Academy and our retailers to provide young people with on the job training is an excellent way to demonstrate the range of retail property related skills and career opportunities. At Hammerson’s Highcross in Leicester we welcomed five apprentices last year, and I’m delighted to report that all have either successfully graduated – or will do so in the coming weeks – and have secured full-time employment with our retailers. Retail Path is a fantastic initiative, promoting the career opportunities of our sector and inspiring young people, and I look forward to following the development of our 2016 apprentices.”