Retail Leadership Degree Apprenticeship

for Employers

Join us in making a career in retail a first choice. Encourage talented and aspiring individuals to work in your business. Develop existing staff by offering them an accelerated career in retail leadership.

The new Retail Leadership Degree Apprenticeship is the first initiative of its kind for the sector. This cutting-edge programme prepares apprentices for the dynamic, sales-driven and evolving environment of 21st century retail.

Some of the UK's leading retailers have backed this new degree and helped design the content, especially for retail employers.

Our next cohort will be starting in September 2020; please contact us to find out how to get involved.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is suitable for new or existing retail managers who are looking to begin or develop a career within the retail sector. Relevant jobs titles include:

  • Store Manager
  • Store Supervisor
  • Area Manager
  • Head of Department
  • Operations Manager
  • Regional Manager
  • Customer Manager

Programme Content

Apprentices of the (BA Hons) Retail Leadership Degree Apprenticeship will develop the strategic, technical, managerial and retail leadership skills required to excel within the industry. 

Year One

Apprentices will learn about the most important factors that affect the overall retail business environment, buying and merchandising effectively and the importance of responsible retailing.

Year Two

Explores the journey from ‘cotton plant to coat-hanger or farm to fork’, interactions with customers and the subsequent supply chain implications. Apprentices will discover the critical success factors of retailing and apply this within your organisation in a work-based project evaluation. Management and leadership within retail will also be explored, including how to motivate people at work, managing conflict, self-management, personal development, leadership and resilience in retail. 

Year Three

Covers retail finance, strategic operations and supply chain management. Apprentices will learn how to interpret financial statements and reports, as well as managing and making decisions on budget. Consumer psychology and behaviour will also be studied, including decision-making, persuasion, online consumer behaviour and prospect theory.

Year Four

Will reconcile the learning from previous years by asking apprentices to develop a strategic plan for their business area, comprising short, medium and long-term objectives. Apprentices will produce a work-based project agreed with you in advance and present this with structured discussion and feedback. 

Overall, the programme aims to develop confident and capable retail leaders of the future, ready for the fast-paced and evolving retail environment.

Core Units

The practical nature of the programme will equip apprentices with the transferable skills required to progress within their retail career. Core units are subject to final validation, but are likely to include:

  • Retail Marketing Environment
  • Buying and Merchandising in Retail
  • The Responsible Retailer
  • Retail Operations
  • Management and Leadership in Retail
  • Managing Customer Information
  • Retail Finance
  • Consumer Psychology and Behaviour
  • Strategic Operations and Supply Chain Management in Retail
  • Contemporary Retail Strategies
  • Business Portfolio

Benefits for your organisation

Attracting and retaining high-calibre talent – This unique programme of activity will enhance your offer of a career in retail leadership within your business. Apprentices can ‘earn while they learn’, whilst securing a high-quality degree at the same time. 

Increased productivity – 86 per cent of employers with apprentices report an improvement in productivity.

Business relevant training – This programme has been developed by employers in the retail sector and tailored to deliver the skills you need. The format is designed to combine degree level education with practical experience to accelerate learning and business impact.

Improved progression and retention – Reward achievement and inspire the career aspirations of your highest performing employees.

Final Degree Award

At the end of the four-year programme, all successful degree apprentices will receive a BA (Hons) Retail Leadership. 

Entry Requirements

Candidates for the Degree Apprenticeship should have a minimum of 104 UCAS tariff points at A2 (Grades BCC) or an equivalent e.g. BTEC DMM. They will also require Maths and English Language GCSE grade A*-C. We will individually evaluate candidates who do not meet these requirements, but have workplace experience.


Employers with a payroll in excess of £3 million will be subject to the Apprenticeship Levy and any funds paid out can be used to fund participation in apprenticeship programmes. Employers with a payroll below £3 million are eligible for funding, which will cover at least 95% of the cost of apprenticeship programmes.

Find out more about funding

Get Involved

We will support you every step of the way to implement apprenticeships at your organisation, whether you intend to upskill current employees or attract new recruits.

Please get in touch with us by emailing or calling our Apprenticeships Team on 0161 247 3720.