The retail industry is the largest UK private sector employer – employing almost three million people, one million of whom are under 24 and one in six of whom have no formal qualifications.

It plays a unique role in the fabric of British social and economic life. For many retail provides the first step into the world of work and, for many more, it provides long-term roles with opportunities to climb the career ladder. For older workers, it offers new opportunities, as an increasing number of people seek flexible employment close to where they live.

Retail is changing. Consumers are demanding more service, a more technologically-driven offer and more engagement and personalisation. New competitors are emerging from both within and outside the industry and the skills needed in a “digital first” world will be different from the past.

We work with governments and others to influence change and policies that encourage a balanced and clear employment and regulation landscape; that ensure a pay framework that combines flexibility and progression with certainty for employers; and that will deliver a modern apprenticeship and training environment supporting the needs of a fast moving industry.