Holland & Barrett: A new apprenticeships approach for the UK’s leading health retailer

The challenge: Create an apprenticeship programme to match and exceed the existing high standard of internal training.

Following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, Holland & Barrett decided to increase the number of apprentices within their business across all areas including Retail, Supply Chain, Customer Service, Digital Marketing and Operations.

Already strategically focussed on staff development across their workforce, Holland & Barrett’s number one priority was ensuring the apprenticeship programmes met the standards of their already high quality internal training – recouping their levy payments was a secondary benefit.

Understanding and planning how to maximise the levy

A complex system, its imperative to totally understand how to fully maximise the levy. Through SR Apprenticeships’ expert advice, Holland & Barrett were able create a long-term plan with a detailed financial forecast including additional bottom line incentives such as NI contributions.

“We fully embrace the benefits of staff training and development and see the value of upskilling and building our workforce for the future – the fact this can now be done via apprenticeships and we can demonstrate additional financial benefits is a bonus.”

Sarah Greene, Accreditation Manager, Holland & Barrett

Co-creating tailored programmes with a trusted partner

Apprenticeship Standards are structured learning programmes encompassing the specific knowledge, skills and behaviours for the sector. A key benefit is the ability to tailor the learning programme to individual businesses.

Holland & Barrett gave SR Apprenticeships full access to immerse themselves in their organisation to gain a thorough understanding of the business, values, existing training programmes and future requirements.

In turn, working in partnership, SR Apprenticeships mapped the programmes to support the business needs creating a truly tailored and bespoke approach that encompassed Holland & Barrett’s existing high quality internal training to the apprenticeships.

Adding value with 20% Off the Job Training

Off the Job Training is extremely important within an apprenticeship to show development and learning of new skills, but many employers are concerned about losing employees for large chunks of time (20%) to complete this.

However, off the job’ does not mean ‘away from the job’. SR Apprenticeships identified that many of Holland & Barrett’s existing training could count towards Off the Job Training such as mentoring, observations and project work. The relevant elements were mapped within the apprenticeship programme with a structured method to monitor and track time all whilst ensuring the apprentices continue to develop and be productive.

Flexible delivery on site

Delivery of the programme utilises SR Apprenticeships’ blended learning solution. For example, Face-to-Face workshops are held at Holland & Barrett’s purpose-built training facility rather than apprentices having to travel to a third-party site.

“We selected SR Apprenticeships as our chosen Training Provider due to their completely new approach and ability to tailor the programmes to our business to give us a totally bespoke solution.”

Sarah Greene, Accreditation Manager, Holland & Barrett

Breaking down barriers and supporting internal communications

Internal buy-in at senior level is a key factor of success for any programme like this. In partnership with Holland & Barrett, SR Apprenticeships developed and supported an internal communication strategy to change perceptions of apprenticeships and gain internal buy in to support this step-change that included;

  • Presentations to key decision makers across the business
  • Roadshows to educate, raise awareness and drive appetite for existing staff members to become apprentices

Looking ahead

With 23 apprentices currently on programme there are plans for a further 49 to start by June in the following standards; Retail, Team Leader, Supply Chain, Customer Service, Digital Marketing and Operations Manager.

“Having a responsive and dedicated account manager for an immediate answer to our queries is fantastic. SR Apprenticeships have made a complex process simple and we look forward to working together with them as we grow the programme”

Sarah Greene, Accreditation Manager, Holland & Barrett