When launching a five-year transformation programme in 2012 to reinvent itself as a “digital retail leader,” Argos realised that the succession of staff and filling a retail skills gap would be key to fast paced expansion.

As the customer advisers on the ground were to be the leaders of tomorrow, the company launched Argos Apprenticeships, a programme that allowed employees at all levels of the business to select from a range of modules.

We worked closely with Argos to enable a programme capable of fulfilling the challenges and expectations of the business as it grew.

Due to its successful transformation, the company has been shortlisted for the Large and Macro Employer of the Year award at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which take place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and learning providers who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes. The awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Kirsty Swan, Argos Learning and Development business partner, said: “It is recognised that developing competent, committed and confident employees is the key to maintaining Argos’ market position and ensuring that they deliver an outstanding service to all of our customers.

“Argos strives to ensure that the apprenticeship qualification provides a great experience for its employees. To do this, the Argos L&D team continually works with stores to gather feedback of the structure they’ve embedded to ensure it’s fit for purpose.”

Out of 1,500 apprentices throughout the UK since 2013, 157 of these have been in Wales across 47 stores. The company provides frameworks in retail, team lading warehousing and ILM management.

The company uses an e-learning platform to enable all staff access to learning and information. Learners have consistently high framework achievement rates of 88 per cent.

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated Argos and the other 32 shortlisted award finalists. “We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent,” she said.

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