M&S: Week Two - Back to school, says Green...

Billionaire tycoon Philip Green aims to establish an academy to train young retailers.

Green, who hopes to seize control of Marks & Spencer, confirmed he wanted to establish a college to provide formal industry training for school-leavers.

He emphasised plans are at an early stage and the project would need backing from other store chiefs.

'Retailers are notoriously competitive so it could be a struggle to get them to work together, but hopefully we can get other retailers to help out,' he said.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and training body Skillsmart welcomed Green's proposal.

BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: 'The key thing is that it should be absolutely free of the bureaucracy that has swamped this kind of initiative in the past. It has to be market-focused. We would be prepared to work with him.'

Skillsmart chairman and Kingfisher director Ian Cheshire has talked to Green and believes the qualifications the academy offers should fit within Skillsmart's overall framework. 'We completely agree with the generic need he has identified. There is a lot of room for initiatives,' he said.

Green criticised the way retail recruitment works, suggesting that entrepreneurial flair has been lost to 'corporate mentality' within many retailers.

'At the moment, you've got the university graduate thing going, where everyone comes to you and wants to be a buyer. They don't understand the basics,' he said.

'I liked what M&S did way back when and what it stood for 25 years ago.

At one time, if you had M&S on your CV it meant you'd been to retail college. Now there are no personalities there.'