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Skillnet Ireland has launched a new European project that aims to bridge existing skills gaps in the retail sector and equip businesses with the capabilities needed to navigate the complex challenges facing the sector. 

The Skills4Retail project was launched at the Retail Ireland Skillnet, Retail Learning Summit, on February 29th. The Skills4Retail project will design a European Retail Sector Skills Strategy and a Retail Sector Curriculum that will address the urgent and emerging skills needs of retailers in the key areas of Digital, Green and Resilience. Everyone, from small business owners to multinational executives, will be able to avail of responsive training programmes that are designed to cater to the specific needs of their industry.     

Skillnet Ireland is leading on the design and development of the Skills4Retail curriculum in partnership with Retail Ireland. The four-year project will focus on developing new talent for the sector through work-based learning, short-term modular courses, and training programmes in Higher Education Institutions. Retailers will be able to upskill and reskill, in areas such as digital marketing, customer experience management, supply chain optimisation, and sustainable retail practices.   

Retail is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, employing over 300,000 people across every town and village in the country. The sector serves as a vital cornerstone in fostering economic resilience and vitality for our local communities.   

Speaking at the launch of the project, Dave Flynn, Skillnet Ireland Director of Business Networks, said: “The competitiveness of the EU retail sector hinges on the capabilities of its workforce. A well-trained and adaptable workforce is a strategic asset that enables retailers to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving expectations of consumers.   

“At Skillnet Ireland our enterprise-led approach is a cornerstone of our success, facilitating collaboration between enterprises in response to ever-changing skills demands across sectors. Skills4Retail will break new ground in the development of retail talent at European level, strengthening the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the retail sector, and in doing so, continuing to nurture vibrant and thriving local communities throughout Ireland.”   

Governments and industry associations in the EU have recognised the imperative of responsive training programmes. The European Commission, through its Erasmus+ programme and Partnerships for Innovation, has been actively supporting initiatives, such as the Skills4Retail project, aimed at upskilling the retail workforce.    

Skills4Retail is spearheaded by an international consortium of 30 partners, bringing together a diverse group of partners, including Skillnet Ireland and Retail Ireland.

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