Hina OliveMargate retailer Hina Olive told Retail Express a year ago about her training plans and the trade newspaper returned this week to ask her how things are going. Well, she reported. She is nearing completion of a level 3 NVQ and one of her staff has passed at level 2.

Retailers in the UK are taking training seriously and with the support of Tesco, Sainsbury, the John Lewis Partnership, Kingfisher (which owns B&Q) and others, the quality and focus of training has improved greatly in the past five years. Part of the secret is that retailers have worked hard to benchmark their training so that their staff get recognition that is transferable.

Independent shops can benefit from this, as the energy that the major retailers put into getting the direction and quality of training correct means that staff learn useful, actionable skills. The major retailers say that the benefit of training is better customer service and this shows up in the bottom line.

For a local shop, the benefit of supporting your staff in training starts when you define the skills and attitudes that you expect for your business to be successful. Being clear what good looks like is a big step forward in making your shop better.