Retail Week has joined forces with Lifetime Training to create thousands of apprenticeships for people from underprivileged backgrounds across the UK.

NOLIMITS new logo 2021

The partnership, which forms the crucial next stage of Retail Week’s No Limits social mobility campaign, aims to support 5,000 new apprentices over the next 12 months through a new Ecommerce Excellence Programme, designed to provide learners with the skills they require to work in the digital economy.

Lifetime Training, which has already supported more than 12,000 apprentices within retail during the past five years, will rapidly ramp up the number of courses on offer to help even more people from around the UK into full-time work.

The training courses will upskill and reskill people across all touchpoints of the customer journey, equipping them with the tools they require to work in contact centres, warehouses, tech, marketing and design.

Training programmes will be available across retail, customer service, warehousing, express delivery, data analysis, and leadership and management. Programmes to be delivered as part of the Ecommerce Excellence partnership will include:

  • Customer service practitioner Level 2
  • Customer service specialist Level 3
  • Supply chain warehouse operative Level 2
  • Team leader supervisor Level 3
  • Operations/departmental manager Level 5

The tie-up between Retail Week and Lifetime Training, which already works with the likes of B&Q, Iceland and Ikea, takes our No Limits campaign to the next level.

The campaign was launched last September to highlight the vital role retail must play in promoting social mobility and creating opportunities for people from all socioeconomic backgrounds in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, ex-Waitrose boss Lord Mark Price, AO founder and chief executive John Roberts and The Body Shop’s UK boss Linda Campbell were among the big-name retailers who backed No Limits as its launch ambassadors.

Data from the Centre for Retail Research released since then has only served to highlight the importance of reskilling young people from all backgrounds to be fit for the digital age.

Almost 180,000 retail jobs were lost last year, many of which were shopfloor roles, and up to 200,000 more could be at risk in 2021 as the sector adjusts to a ‘new normal’ following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the shift to online shopping.

Retail Week editor Luke Tugby said: “The rapid digital acceleration in retail over the past year has boosted the sector’s requirement for tech and digital talent – and Retail Week’s partnership with Lifetime Training will help provide thousands of young people from across the UK with those vital skills.

“Retail has always had a reputation as a meritocratic industry for its ability to provide people of all backgrounds with a route from shopfloor to boardroom. But the sector’s standing as a proponent of social mobility is on fragile ground following the coronavirus crisis, which has widened the chasm between the haves and have-nots in our society.

“Our No Limits campaign was launched last year to reinvigorate a focus on social mobility across the retail sector and encourage businesses to seek out talent from all four corners of the UK, regardless of people’s backgrounds.

“We are delighted that Lifetime Training has seen the potential of our No Limits campaign and I am excited about the huge impact we can have together in helping to reskill the retail workforce of the future.”

“The focus on upskilling employees has the potential to reshape the retail workforce demographic”

Alex Khan, Lifetime Training

Lifetime Training chief executive Alex Khan added: “The past year has seen a huge shift in the retail market as mass store closures have accelerated customers switching to online shopping.

“This dramatic shift has seen a key focus on reskilling and upskilling staff across customer service, warehouse, management, tech and digital talent. This focus on upskilling employees in these areas has the potential to reshape the retail workforce demographic.

“Lifetime is committed to supporting the retail industry in this change, having supported more than 12,000 learners within the retail and wider business sector over the last five years.

“We are dedicated to supporting the industry with 5,000 new apprenticeships over the next year, utilising key government incentives including the Kickstart Scheme and new-hire apprenticeship incentives for employers, as well as supporting employers who are upskilling or reskilling staff through apprenticeships.

“Our partnership with Retail Week and the No Limits campaign will highlight the vital role that all retail leaders have to play in helping to ensure social mobility stands at the forefront of retailers’ KPIs during the time of change.”

Get involved in No Limits

To find out more about No Limits, get involved in the campaign or tell your inspirational story of how the sector has changed your life for the better, contact Retail Week editor Luke Tugby on

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #RWNoLimits.