Retailers: 'don't sell us short'

June 30, 2000

The "uneasy and uncertain" relationship between higher education and the retail industry must be resolved if Britain is to maintain a competitive advantage, according to a consultation paper released by the retail and consumer services Foresight panel this week.

About 28 British universities deliver more than 40 retail degree programmes. But, on the whole, the industry is dissatisfied with the standard of graduates produced. Only 14 per cent of places on retail industry graduate training programmes go to students from retail courses.

Sir John Banham, chairman of the Foresight panel, said: "If we can build a strong partnership between retailers and the world of education, we will be able to deliver huge benefits for all."

The panel's proposals to improve retail courses in higher education include work experience placements, curriculum-based classroom material and regional pilot schemes. Universities are also called on to establish themselves more firmly as "education providers in the workplace". The Foresight retail panel will publish its final report in November.

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