said-business-schoolSkillsmart Retail and Retail Trust are calling on grocers to apply for seven prestigious retail management scholarships.

Applications opened today for the free places at the bssa Oxford Retail Masters Forum, a top four-day residential retail management training course.

Worth nearly £2000 each, the scholarships give store managers an opportunity to network and learn from some of the most respected experts in retail from 22-25 March 2010 at the Said Business School, University of Oxford.

Anne Seaman, CEO of Skillsmart Retail said: “The Oxford Retail Masters Forum is among the best training courses in the country, and the opportunity to attend it for free is a dream come true for many retailers. Previous winners have reported having their eyes opened to new ideas and business opportunities, and during these tough trading conditions, anything that gives grocers a competitive advantage can only be a good thing.”

Nigel J L Rothband, Chief Executive of Retail Trust, said: “Retail Trust has long recognised the need for increased educational opportunities for people working in retail. The aim of this bursary scheme is to assist aspiring managers in achieving their potential and fulfilling their ambitions in retail.”

The course is run by the British Shops and Stores Association (bssa) and gives attendees the rare opportunity to learn from some of the leading lights in the industry whilst participating in exercises designed to maximise potential and showcase ability.

Delegates take part in a series of lectures and seminars looking at a range of topics affecting retail and get the chance to listen to speeches from top retail names including Theo Paphitis of Ryman, Alan Giles of Fat Face and Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium.

Previous scholarship winners in the past have praised the course for providing networking opportunities, giving practical ideas for enhancing their own businesses, and providing a deeper insight into both current and future challenges.

Jonathan Yardley, Commercial Manager – Electricals Direct at Tesco, who won a scholarship last time around, said: “I learned a whole host of information in relation to retail trends and wider business issues and challenges. After the course I felt significantly more knowledgeable about the trade and market I operate within and undoubtedly this makes me more effective in my day job.”

Scholarships are available to anyone who has worked in the industry for at least seven years but are particularly relevant for senior managers, regional managers and store managers.

Application forms can be downloaded from the events section of or visit or for further info.

The closing date for applications is 22 January 2010.

Skillsmart Retail

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