A new training scheme has launched where staff at the UK’s biggest health food retailer can gain a qualification equivalent to A-level standard as they work on the high street.
Holland & Barrett has invested £13 million in a vocational training programme across its 700 UK stores over the last five years, to enable staff to offer better advice to customers on a huge range of health issues.
The Company’s training will today be officially recognised by government-backed EDI (Education Development International) which will see more than 3,200 retail staff awarded qualifications for the 6, 18 and 36 week training programmes they have completed. The top tier qualification, entitled a ‘Level 3 Qualification Credit Framework (QCF) Award’, is equivalent to an A Level.
The qualification forms part of the new Holland & Barrett ‘Natural Health Academy’ and is the first recognised training scheme to cover health on the high street. The Company predicts that a further 3,000 employees will pass though the Academy in the next five years learning to advise on conditions including migraines, joint pain, cholesterol and circulation.
Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling MP, says: “Vocational training is a crucial factor in the UK’s economic growth. The launch of this scheme shows a strong lead that other retailers should follow in investing in people and training, to provide a greater service for customers.”
In the last financial year, Holland & Barrett grew its turnover by 11.7 per cent, expanding by 34 stores. The business currently has more than 250 new positions in stores across the country and all successful applicants can be enrolled in the new scheme.
Holland & Barrett is part of NBTY Europe, which operates more than 1,000 stores across Europe including the GNC, Julian Graves and De Tuinen health food brands.
NBTY Europe’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Aldis, says: “We are constantly striving for excellence in all areas of our business, and the launch of our Natural Health Academy demonstrates our latest investment in people and training. There continues to be a huge growth in self-care, so it’s important that we can provide real, trusted advice to our customers to help them improve their health.”