Is a retail apprenticeship right for you?

A retail apprenticeship can get you into an underrated but respectable career in retail business!

Retail is a hot industry in the UK at the moment and with more of us than ever flocking to stores to pick up bargains, companies are hard at work in trying to hire the right people for their brand.

But it isn’t an easy task. The poor skillset of many applicants has left positions unfilled, while more experienced personnel continue to rise up the ranks into management positions that sometimes wield six-figure pay packages.

So who will plug this gap? Apprentices!


Easily one of the best assets of the retail trade is that it is highly flexibly and can fit around your life – including any part-time studies you are taking at the same time.

Taking on the role of a retail apprentice will be no easy task, however, as demanding customers and a fast-moving industry mean that only the best and brightest get taken on for longer periods of time.

That’s why the ‘pay to learn’ philosophy employed by some of the country’s biggest retailers is becoming so popular. The fact is, these companies need new talent to drive sales and improve their image, so it’s little wonder they are trying to hire as many apprentices as possible.


Another great reason to become a retail apprentice is that it can allow you to get in the world of fashion. Hundreds of thousands of men and women across the UK dream of lining the catwalk of Vivienne Westwood or Gucci shows and for many, this kind of earn while you learn experience can really help towards that goal.

Sarah Burton, now head of the world-famous Alexander McQueen fashion label, was once a lowly intern at the company she now creatively directs and this is a great example of how even entry level employees can work their way up if they know how.


But really, it needn’t just be fashion, or the myriad of other fields apprentices can enter into – it’s all about what you are passionate about.

Apprenticeships allow school leavers to establish themselves in the industry they love while learning new skills and getting paid, but this isn’t all there is to it. Participants must be enthusiastic and keep up to date with all the latest trends in their sector, as this will impress bosses and improve the chances of a permanent placement.

But care must be taken not to go too over the top with this. Nobody likes a show off and if it looks like you are trying too hard to get in a boss’ good books, you could attract negative attention from your co-workers.

Can you stand the heat?

One of the defining factors of taking on a retail apprenticeship is that it involves intense pressure at all times. Successful applicants will show a steely determination to get the job done in the face of demanding customers.

Sales, Christmas rushes and slow, quiet days are all part of the retail experience and can test the mettle of even the most determined school leaver. But if you can manage it, the results are hugely rewarding and one day you could be at the top of the food chain calling the shots.