transfer of learningJohn Lewis today announced it is to recruit more than 100 apprentices for its 2013/2014 Retail Apprenticeship programme, and also launch a Technology Apprenticeship aimed at training the next generation of IT and systems leaders in the business.

Now in its second year, the one-year retail scheme focuses on young people and guarantees that everyone who successfully completes their training will secure employment with the retailer. It follows on from the 80 apprenticeship places John Lewis recruited in 2012 on its first ever apprenticeship programme.

Apprentices for the retail scheme are being recruited for 25 of the retailer’s 39 shops in England, Scotland and Wales, including its flagship Oxford Street department store. They will join the business in September and will be based across a variety of selling departments in branches. Apprentices on the Technology scheme will be based in John Lewis’s head office and will work with the retailer’s IT teams.

The retail programme features two levels; the Intermediate Apprenticeship Scheme (Level 2), for those who have left school at the age of 16, and the Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme (Level 3) for young people who have already completed their A-Levels. Both are one year programmes and if completed successfully, apprentices on the Intermediate will be rewarded with GCSE standard qualifications and those on the Advanced scheme, qualifications at an A-level standard.

Laura Whyte, personnel director at John Lewis, said: “Last year’s apprentices have hit the ground running, and the programme has been a huge success for the business. It’s fantastic that we can increase the number of new recruits by 25% for the second year, in line with the targets we set. Our aim for the programme has always been to give young people a genuine alternative to university and importantly, provide them with the skills and knowledge to set them on the path for a long-term career in retail. We’ll be working closely with our current apprentices over the coming months to support them as they complete the programme and then look towards the next stage of their career progression.”

The market-leading Technology Apprenticeship is an 18 month Level 3 scheme supported by training provider, QA Apprenticeships. Apprentices will join one of the retailer’s IT teams and be assigned to project teams, whilst also completing a number of Java Programming courses and ongoing work-based training. At the very start of the apprenticeship scheme, they will also spend two weeks working on the shop floor at one of the retailer’s London shops to develop a solid understanding of the world of retail.

Paul Coby, IT Director, at John Lewis, said: “The technology apprenticeship has long been an ambition of mine since I joined the business in early 2011. We’re seeing a real skills gap in young people where IT and technology are concerned, and as a keen investor in talent we’ve recognised that this needs to be addressed as we strive to become a leading omni-channel retailer. We recognise the importance of technological innovation and the apprentices we take on will be crucial in helping us to achieve our goal. Looking ahead, we hope to be able to increase the intake for the following year’s scheme.”

Interested candidates should be on course to achieve A to C grades in their A-levels and have a keen interest in technology as well as the wider retail business. There are five places available on the 2013/2014 Technology Apprenticeship programme and successful applicants will join the business in September. Applications open on 20th May.

22 year old Louis Boler is a current retail apprentice working in the womenswear department at John Lewis Sheffield. He commented: “John Lewis is renowned for being one of the UK’s biggest retailers so when the opportunity to join the apprenticeship programme came up, I knew it was too good to pass up. The nature of the course provides us with responsibility early on as well as the skills to progress to senior management roles and I’m committed to working hard to achieve this. The business is putting time and money into my future and I’m looking forward to completing the apprenticeship course and moving on to the next stage of training.”

All apprentices will automatically become Partners and have access to all benefits and reward programmes.