14 days to develop yourself.. the Retail Investment challenge

“Will women be the saviours of the High Street?” Was the deliberately controversial headline on a story on BBC News online (14/02/14) Just a day earlier, The Guardian reported ‘Gyms, bars and bookies taking over high streets’. Hardly a day goes by without retail hitting the headlines – can you think of any other industry that features so heavily in the media? Why are we obsessed with retail?

Maybe it’s because, Britain is often touted as a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ (we can thank Adam Smith, in his book Wealth of Nations, which Napoleon quoted from, for that!)It’s amazing to realise that retail today accounts for approximately 10% of UK employment (Providing jobs for three million people, the retail sector is actually the UK’s largest private employer.)  The scale and variety of the businesses within the sector means there’s huge opportunity to pursue a diverse and challenging career. Retail also has an excellent record on training and upskilling its workforce. 63% of all individuals in the sector were given training equivalent to 14 working days. (2008)

Imagine you had to pay for and invest in those 14 days yourself… Where would you spend your 14 days?

What would you choose to focus on? What would be your top 3 priorities and how would you measure the impact? How would you choose to build your career? What would you say no to? And ask for more of?

We believe ‘learning to dance takes more than just knowing the steps’. It’s easy to ‘attend’ company arranged training and development opportunities without clear objectives, or with half an eye on the Blackberry – but if you were really ‘present’ and looking for ‘personal Return On Investment’, how much more could you and would you challenge, learn, question, practise, debate and review? In 2014, think about your next 14 days of development.



As Principal Partners of the Foundation School, this blog also appears on the Oxford Summer School website


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Michaela Weller

Director, Brand & Offer

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