Supermarket giant ASDA has launched a workplace training pilot for 1000 employees following the validation of the company's own in-house training programme.
The company's employees will be offered the chance to train toward National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in retail and Modern Apprenticeships.
In a trial, starting next month, 1000 ASDA employees in eight North London stores will train toward fully transferable retail qualifications.
Employees over the age of 25 will work toward NVQ Level 2 qualifications and younger employees, aged 16-24, will work toward Modern Apprenticeships.
Also starting in March, 1000 employees will train toward voluntary, paid, basic skills qualifications following a successful basic skills pilot in 2003.
ASDA expects the pilot and the basic skills implementation to deliver similar business benefits to its 2003 basic skills pilot including increased productivity, improved staff morale and retention, and a higher level of internal promotion.
The Learning and Skills Council, the organisation responsible for developing skills in England, has contributed over £500,000 to the pilot and the first stage of the basic skills roll out.
ASDA's goal is to use the NVQ and Modern Apprenticeship trial to offer company-wide accredited workforce development.
The validation of ASDA's own in-house training as a Retail NVQ follows extensive consultation with the Learning and Skills Council and City & Guilds.
Stephen Gardner, Director of Skills and Workforce Development for the Learning and Skills Council called ASDA's commitment to workplace training "nothing less than visionary".
"Adult learning and Modern Apprenticeships will allow ASDA to train new and existing employees in the skills needs of their business, helping to increase productivity and profitability while staff remain as a resource for the business," he added.
David Smith, People Director at ASDA said: "We're in no doubt that, not only does training like this make a real difference to our colleagues, but it also makes our business stronger."