Asda has pledged to introduce 6,000 apprenticeships by the end of this year, and up to 25,000 by the end of 2012 as it seeks to change the face of retail as a career choice.

The apprenticeships will launch in June in partnership with City & Guilds. The retail apprenticeships will give a City & Guilds level two and three qualification, plus there will be a separate apprenticeship for leadership roles in its supermarket division, which will run the converted Netto stores.

The scheme was trialled last year, and people operations and policy director Sarah Dickins said the feedback was “incredibly positive”.

She said: “With young people, historically retail has not been a first career choice so we want to change the face of retail as a career. Each store is a huge business in its own right, and we want to show what opportunities there are.”

Asda has already pledged to create 7,500 jobs this year, 1,500 of which will be in the converted Netto stores. Most of the apprenticeships will be for existing staff, apart from the Netto roles.

Staff will be trained according to what role they currently hold, then linked to retail skills such as customer service.

Dickins said: “It’s a great opportunity to build skills and enhance career opportunities.”