News / Bespoke apprenticeship programme delivering retail and hospitality training across Dunelm’s UK portfolio

Dunelm has been working with Babcock since 2015, developing a bespoke apprenticeship programme that is offered across their UK portfolio of stores to support both retail and hospitality operations. For Dunelm, ensuring that colleagues get the right learning and development is a critical factor in supporting the organisation to reach and exceed their strategic aims.

Dunelm’s apprenticeship programme is an exciting component of the company’s comprehensive training and development portfolio, which gives employees the tools they need to meet ever demanding business needs. The apprenticeship programme includes the following apprenticeship standards:

• Level 2 Retailer;
• Level 3 Retail Team Leader;
• Level 4 Retail Manager; and
• Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner.

Adopting a ‘Customer First’ approach is a key pillar of Dunelm’s strategy, and it is here that the apprenticeship programme particularly excels. The Dunelm Apprenticeship Delivery Model has been carefully aligned to Dunelm’s customer service commitments; both Dunelm’s retail and hospitality programmes are skilfully designed to embed the high levels of customer service Dunelm’s customers expect. As an example, Babcock’s bespoke retail apprenticeship is designed to improve customer service standards and drive cost efficiencies, by improving the communications between store departments and central functions. This involves developing effective communication channels between employees in each department, supporting apprentices to develop a working knowledge the entire operation and creating a more rounded, multiskilled colleague. This approach is underpinned by a strong focus on communication and team work, supporting departments to work in synergy and ensuring the customer experience is maintained across the store.

A key component of Babcock’s solution for Dunelm is the development of progression routes for supervisors and managers across their retail provision. The retail supervisor standard is fully aligned to Dunelm’s ‘Step Up’ programme for team leaders and assistant managers. Apprenticeship delivery complements in house training by filling any gaps and allows participants to practise and embed their newly developed skills and competencies.

Talking about her experiences with Babcock, Sarah Vine, Head of Learning and Development says With a strong commitment to our people, we are delighted with the impact our apprenticeship programme is having on operational performance and colleague satisfaction. Our successes in England are mirrored across the UK and we are looking forward to building on our existing platform of success as we continue to embrace new apprenticeship standards and the apprenticeship levy funding system.”

The programme is highly performing, with success rates for 2020/21 averaged across all standards at 72%.