Retail & Hospitality

The retail and hospitality sectors both make up a significant proportion of the UK economy. The retail industry generated £358 billion worth of sales in 2016, and overall it is the largest private sector employer.

The hospitality industry is the fourth largest employer in the UK with 4.55 million people working across the sector. The size of the sector means that it is well served by the Collab Group network which provides high-quality training solutions to employers in hospitality and retail at both a local and national level.

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The hospitality sector employs 5.5% of the nation’s workforce (1.75 million) and the retail sector employs 8.75% (2.8 million), but the world of retail and hospitality is fast changing and challenging. Disruptive technologies, big data and the changing nature of the high street are all having an impact.

In the last year, 28 retail companies with multiple stores have gone into administration, affecting 2,085 stores and 39,000 jobs. This is a higher number of affected stores compared with recent years, and so the retail sector has grown less strongly in 2017 and early 2018.

One of the reasons for the closure of stores is the rise of internet sales. In 2008, they only accounted for 5% of the total retail sales and in August 2018, they account for 18% of the total share of sales in the UK. Internet retailing is more popular in the UK than any other country of the European Union. This change in the way people shop reflects on the need for the industry to reinvent itself and gear itself towards a more technological approach. This, therefore, also means that the retail workforce will need to gain new skills to adapt to the changing world of technology.

On all of these challenges, Collab Group is in a unique position to ensure that the retail and hospitality sector continues to be a leading employer for the UK economy. Despite, the concerns in these sectors, there is also good news. It is expected that, despite closures and staff shortages, the UK hospitality sector could be worth £100 billion by the end of 2018. So, we need to ensure that the sector continues to be provided with a qualified and highly adaptable workforce.

Collab Group, through our network of quality assured member colleges, can help employers to build a skilled and resilient workforce. Our providers offer a wide variety of retail and hospitality apprenticeships nationwide. They deliver excellent services and pay close attention to the employers’ needs. Our colleges are committed to putting learners first. We’ll go the extra mile and delivery a service based on robust outputs and carefully developing programmes to suit your needs.

We take a considered and strategic approach to training. We’ll help create a programme that is bespoke for the business, ethos and values of the organisation. Our portfolio doesn't stop with retail; we offer facilities management, data analyst, sales training and customer service apprenticeships too. We like to think that the range, depth and breadth of provision that we are able to offer is unparalleled.

Why Choose Collab Group

Why Choose Collab Group

Providing a single point of contact for the sector

We provide a single point of contact and dedicated account management. We offer expert support on how to secure the best return on your levy investment. We don’t charge employers for our services. We’ll coordinate your skills supply-chain from our 35 member colleges and help ease the bureaucracy so that employers can concentrate on building a robust team. Together, we will help your staff cope with the challenges of today and tomorrow.

So, if you are thinking of investing in your most valuable asset - your people, please do get in touch today for an informal discussion about your requirements. We look forward to hearing from you.

Case Studies

Our colleges are at the forefront of providing great training in the retail and hospitality sectors. Find out more from these great stories.

Ellen Copperwaite

Ellen Copperwaite

This is the story of a great future chef

I lived in Australia for 10 years before coming back to the UK last year. I absolutely love cooking and have a particular passion for pastry and cake decoration. I learnt a lot of what I know from my step mum by helping out at her café when we lived in Australia. My dad had studied plumbing at Bedford College when he was younger, so when we came back to the UK I decided to enrol on the Professional Cookery course.

Courses Offered By Our Members

Our colleges provide learners with the skills and experience to reach leading positions in the hospitality and retail sector thanks to their apprenticeship opportunities in a range of managerial positions.


Retailer apprenticeships

These programmes provide learners with the knowledge and skills to carry out a job role in the retail sector. Key skills include customer service, leadership, and team building skills, enabling learners to enter into first line management roles.


Customer Service Practitioner

These courses are designed for customer-facing jobs, in which apprentices will learn customer service principles and practices, service skills and management, and reinforcement techniques.


Team Leader/ Supervisor

Students will learn how manage problems, people and projects, and how to deliver tangible outcomes for their companies. The ability to lead and supervise a team is applicable to almost every industry.


Hospitality Team Member

The courses enable students to develop fantastic hospitality skills and knowledge such as recognising customer needs, knowing how to match them to the products and services of the business.


Commis Chef

The aim of these courses is for students to learn and understand how to carry out basic functions in every section of the kitchen, with a view to choosing an area where they feel most inspired.

Get in touch

We'd love to hear from you so please feel free to get in touch with us by filling out the form below.


Collab Group
Victoria Centre
Kingsway College

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