Sainsbury's Accredited Training Programme case study

One of the largest accredited training programmes in the UK demonstrates commitment to vocational learning and customer excellence.

18 February 2015 / Be the first to comment

The Challenge 

Sainsbury’s has a clear vision to be the most trusted retailer, where people love to work and shop. With a heritage established over 150 years of trading, one of its central values is to be a Great Place to Work, which involves putting learning and development at the heart of its activity to achieve this vision. The aim is to engage staff, and build capabilities and competence across its 1200 stores and more than 160,000 colleagues nationwide.

Our Approach

To realise its vision, Sainsbury’s set up a network of training colleges across the UK. The food colleges provide training on everything from product knowledge to knife skills and food preparation. Colleagues are given ring-fenced time away from their everyday environment to focus entirely on their training, alleviating the pressure on stores to deliver practical training.

As part of its commitment to both customer excellence and investment in its colleagues, Sainsbury’s partnered with City & Guilds Kineo to accredit its training. Sarah Jukes, Qualifications Manager, explains, "As a business we are passionate about vocational training and we felt that by offering accredited training, our colleagues would see we are investing in them and their skills."

To gain a City & Guilds accreditation, the Sainsbury’s training process was put through detailed audits. This ensured everything was of the highest standard for its colleagues, including learning materials, the training experience itself, assessments and learner feedback.

Colleagues can now see at a glance what training is available to them via bulletin boards in-store or online. And in addition to the practical workshops, learners are supported via elearning resources and established practices of coaching and mentoring from fellow colleagues and trainers who have undertaken trainer workshops accredited by City & Guilds.

An apprenticeship scheme has also been established to support the development of the next generation of managers. It is a much sought after option for colleagues aiming to progress their careers within Sainsbury’s.

The Results

Sainsbury’s is now the largest organisation providing learning accredited by City & Guilds and over 21,000 colleagues have already attended training at its specialist colleges. Those who have attended the accredited training continue to give excellent feedback and have received a ‘My Sainsbury’s Learning Certificate’ from City & Guilds in recognition of their achievements.

The accredited training has also had a significant impact on both individual and business performance, reducing pressure in stores to deliver practical training and decreasing the overall time to train, whilst supporting colleagues’ access to quality accredited training from City & Guilds.

This ongoing commitment to learning and development has been recognised by a Gold standard Investors In People Award – the first to ever be awarded to a food retailer. Sainsbury’s have also been awarded ‘Business Employer of the Year’ at the 2014 City & Guilds Lion Awards in acknowledgement of a continued commitment to their people.


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