CHESHIRE Oaks Retail Academy has been named as a founder member of a national scheme aimed at reviving the recession-hit retail sector.

The training programme, which was founded in conjunction with West Cheshire College in 2003, has become part of the National Skills Academy for Retail.

The Government-backed initiative is a network of training centres designed to increase productivity.

Staff from CORA were formally welcomed to the academy at a glitzy launch day in London attended by Dragons’ Den tycoon Theo Paphitis.

Cheshire Oaks general manager Colin Wilding said: “Under the National Skills Academy for Retail, we have the potential to offer Cheshire retailers incalculable benefits in the form of staff development and retention.”

Theo Paphitis said: “Training is vital to the success of retail, and the Cheshire Oaks skills shop will help all employees and employers find the right training solution.

“Whether it is an apprenticeship, retail customer service programme or work experience opportunity, it will be an important part of local life, and provide a timely boost for the retail sector.”

Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail Jane Rexworthy said:Š “We are all excited to launch the National Skills Academy for Retail and welcome the Cheshire Oaks Retail Academy to the network.

“Together, we will now begin our mission to drive up the skills levels of everyone within the diverse and large retail sector.

“It will act as a resource for everyone, from local people hoping to begin their career or get back in to work, to retailers looking for the best way to train their existing workforce.”

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