More than 130 retailers have partnered with London’s Fashion Retail Academy, the brainchild of Arcadia tycoon Sir Philip Green, as the shopkeeping school turns out qualified youngsters that are in high demand in retail.

The proportion of students who leave and go into full-time employment is 60% and more retailers than ever are becoming involved through initaitives such as placements, work experience and lectures as they recognise the value of the Academy, which held its annual awards on Wednesday.

Top retailers including Jason Tarry of Tesco’s F+F, Next’s Christos Angelides, M&S’s John Dixon and River Island’s Ben Lewis joined Green to celebrate students’ success.

Tarry said he had recruited 11 Academy students since January, while Angelides has eight in Next’s buying department.

Education Secretary Michael Gove, also at the event, acknowledged retail’s importance to the economy and the value of the Academy. He said: “It reminds us of what we’re brilliant at in Britain.”