Press Centre

Asda Celebrates First Graduates From The Asda Skills Academy

  • 130 Asda colleagues celebrate at first Asda Skills Academy graduation

  • To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week Asda opens up opportunities for second cohort of apprentices to join 4,000 currently in training

  • Research by City & Guilds shows retail apprenticeships are set to generate £64 million for UK economy by 2020

130 Asda colleagues are the first to graduate from the Asda Skills Academy today after completing their City & Guilds apprenticeship programme with the retailer.

The inaugural ceremony, which marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week, sees colleagues from across the country come together in Leeds to receive their Level Two and Three City & Guilds qualifications from Asda President and CEO Andy Clarke and Chris Jones, Director General of CEO City & Guilds.

Colleagues graduating from the Asda Skills Academy today have successfully completed 12 modules of study designed to develop their retail knowledge and skills, as well as presented a portfolio of their work to City & Guilds for assessment.

The graduation follows the launch of a report by City & Guilds last week, entitled ‘The Economic Value of Apprenticeships’. The publication illustrates the important role apprenticeships play in expanding the skills base of the retail sector, and their likely impact on securing the long term viability of the UK economy. It reveals that a boost in retail apprenticeships alone is expected to generate up to £64 million for the UK economy by 2020.

Over 4,200 colleagues enrolled on Asda’s apprenticeship programme when the retailer launched its Skills Academy in June 2011 – today’s graduates are amongst the first to complete the programme, which can take up to 12 months.

This week Asda is again offering colleagues the opportunity to enrol on the programme with the second intake of the Asda Skills Academy

Through the Asda Skills Academy colleagues train for recognised qualifications in retail broadly equivalent to GCSE (at Level 2) and A Level (at Level 3). The programme has been developed with City & Guilds to focus on a range of retailing skills, including merchandising and customer service as well as craft skills like bakery.

Amongst those celebrating today is Emma Fishlock, a Sales Assistant from Asda Taunton who enrolled in the Asda Skills Academy last year. She comments:

“When Asda launched its apprenticeship programme last year, I jumped at the chance to sign up – I want to develop my career and studying for such a recognisable qualification is a really important part of that."

“I started on my level two course last year and have just graduated today. It’s been tough trying to complete all the modules, attend all the training classes and maintain my portfolio – whilst also juggling my day job, but work has been very supportive and I’ve found it really rewarding. It has taught me about other areas of the business and now I’m determined to work through each level – until I reach management.”

Andy Clarke, CEO and President of Asda, said:
“This is a really special day for us. I’m incredibly proud to see our first colleagues graduate from the Asda Skills Academy."

“Training and qualifications don’t just give people pieces of paper – they give them the confidence to do more than they thought they could. That’s why, at Asda, we don’t just offer our colleagues a job, but provide them with the means and the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence and to build a fulfilling career."

Chris Jones, CEO and Director-General of City & Guilds said:
“Apprenticeships are core to our purpose of enabling people and organisations to develop their skills for personal and economic growth. That’s why we are delighted to have been involved in developing Asda’s apprenticeship programme from the start and are extremely proud to celebrate the achievements of its first graduates. Asda’s Skills Academy is a great boost towards the success of our Million Extra campaign and to apprenticeships overall.”

Posted in Press Centre on 06 February 2012