A time for learning new tricks


There are many good reasons to train staff beyond the legally required minimum. As the New Year approaches and retailers consider what they want to achieve in 2016, now is a good time to start thinking about how to bring out the best in your staff and the best in your business.

IT’S impossible to predict all the challenges Scotland’s c-store retailers will face in 2016. We do know, however, that staffing costs are set to rise, with a new National Living Wage (£7.20 an hour for workers over the age of 25) due to be introduced in April.
Faced with forking out more for their staff, many retailers will likely be asking themselves how they can ensure a return on their investment.
The answer, suggests Linda Bowie, development and learning coordinator at Glasgow-based firm Servewise, lies in effective training.
“Offering staff the opportunity to become personal licence holders shows that you value them, are willing to invest in them, and believe that they are able to take on extra responsibilities,” she said.
“The law may only require the designated premises manager to hold a personal licence, but many licensing boards want to see a personal licence holder on the premises at all times.
“Additionally, having several personal licence holders offers flexibility: if the designated premises manager moves on, there’s someone ready to step up.”
ServeWise is one of a number of companies offering training for new personal licence holders, both in person and online.
For personal licence holders looking for some support to train their staff, Servewise also recommends the City & Guilds’ Workbook for Staff of Licensed Premises.
The workbook includes some basic information about how to run a training session. It covers the 16 points the law requires staff to know and has mini-assessments throughout so that the personal licence holder can check staff understand the information. It also has a record of training at the back for the PLH and member of staff to sign.

• Specialist online learning provider Upskill People has a catalogue of more than 120 courses for people operating within retail and hospitality.
Until recently, c-store retailers had to be a member of its partner channels such as Nisa or Best One. But in October, the firm launched a service directly to independent retailers. Upskill People has prepared a list of FAQs and answers for retailers who are interested in its services:

How long does each course take to complete?
People learn best in short, sharp and concentrated bursts. It’s like an espresso shot of learning. Courses take between 10 and 40 minutes to complete. The larger courses are broken up into smaller modules of 15 minutes as we know some learners have short attention spans and like to achieve something frequently.

Is online learning motivational?
Well, we think so. There’s nothing worse than just reading a load of text on a screen. Our courses use a lot of interaction, animation and sound to keep learners engaged. We have been creating retail online learning since 1994 and we deliver around 4m courses a year as the UK’s leading provider of online learning for retail and hospitality. Upskill People puts a lot of effort into researching the fastest and most effective ways to help people learn. Our learners tell us they get a real sense of achievement on completing each course. That makes them want to do more and use their skills at work.

What is an Individual Road Map?
Every employee gets a personalised individual login. They see a road map of all the courses available to them and can complete them in turn or in any order.

Do the training courses need to be installed on a computer?
No. Because all the courses are online, there is no software that you need to download. The platform can be accessed on any device that’s online, PC/Mac, tablet, smartphone. Managers can access up-to-date reporting on any device.

What are the costs of courses?
Online learning courses are available from as little as £1 per person.