Retail record for Oldham College students

Students at Oldham College recently proved they were record breakers – by completing their work-based retail qualifications in a third of the time it normally takes.

The six students, who are volunteers with Dr Kershaw’s Hospice charity shops, each completed their HABC Level 2 Certificate in Retail Skills (QCF) in record time, taking just four months to achieve the qualification.

Oldham College NVQ Manager Pam Collacott said, ‘We were contacted by Dr Kershaw’s to help support the charity shops and providing this educational opportunity was an ideal fit.  Students were supported and assessed in various different ways including one-to-one assessor support and written work assignments.  We’ve been delighted with the motivation of the students who completed the qualification in just 4 months as it can take up to 12’.

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice was selected by Oldham College and University Campus Oldham as its local charity of choice for support in 2014, and staff were delighted to be able to provide a free formal training programme for their staff.

Lisa Pearson, Fundraising Manager at the charity, said, ‘We wanted to encourage people to volunteer for us and investigated different incentives that we could offer in lieu of wages.  When we discovered that Oldham College could help our volunteers to achieve an NVQ, we knew it was what we’d been looking for.  By offering the opportunity for volunteers to gain national recognised qualifications, we can give something back to those who give so much of themselves to us’.

Elaine Williams, a volunteer in Dr Kershaw’s Hospice charity shop in Shaw, said, ‘I’d never worked in retail before until I started volunteering although I’d had plenty of experience of shopping!  It was a really good learning programme and thought-provoking on several levels as there’s so much you don’t appreciate from a customer point of view.  As many of us had been out of education for a while, we were thrilled to have this great opportunity to complete a qualification.  It was so worthwhile and has made a big difference to our future employability’.

John Cusworth, HABC Corporate Business Development Manager, said, ‘HABC is extremely proud to have been able to assist Oldham College with this initiative, which will be invaluable to those working for Dr Kershaw’s Hospice.  All those achieving this qualification will now have the knowledge and skills to be able to perform their duties to an exceptional level in a retail environment, which will help raise some much needed funds in-store.  It is really pleasing to see the College working with local partners, showcasing the great work that is undertaken in the community.  Well done to the team for each achieving the HABC Level 2 Certificate in Retail Skills (QCF)’.

Oldham College is keen to encourage more organisations to utilise retail training opportunities.  Anyone interested should contact Pam Collacott on 07912 485457 or

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