In September we officially kicked off the 8th intake for the Degree in Retail Management Practice. We were delighted to welcome 58 new 1st year students to the programme, who join 87 other students across second, third and fourth year. In total this makes close to 600 students that have joined this programme since it was established in 2012.
Students from across 23 counties are currently onboard the Degree and come from a wide variety of 29 different retail organisations including pharmacy, wholesale, hospitality, car sales, service stations and many more. Interestingly, 35 of our first-year applications were made by individuals themselves with the remaining 23 having been put forward for the programme by their employer.
Although students range in age from early 20s to late 50s, the average Degree student is aged 36 and at present and this year’s cohort makes up a 60:40 male to female ratio.
Whilst COVID-19 has undoubtedly thrown a huge curveball for this year’s learners, the move toward online delivery has been largely smooth and well received by students with great attendance records. Whilst classes will continue to be delivered online for the coming months, we are looking forward to welcoming Degree students back to our classroom when it is safe to do so.
It’s not surprising that most of feedback this year has been relating to the changes brought about by COVID-19 with students commending how the Retail Ireland Skillnet team have adapted and helped support students through new ways of learning via online. Both degree students and their employers have noted their appreciation of the communication and guidance that has enabled the continuity of their learning journey throughout the pandemic.
We recognise the importance of setting a good foundation for learning amongst new first years as many have not been involved with formal learning for a significant number of years. These students have already been equipped with the core IT skills and learner development tools required for their learning journey and will continue to complete modules in marketing, communications, and legal issues throughout the remainder of their first year. All year groups enjoy regular guest speakers who share their ‘real life’ retail experiences with students. Later in the year, first years will enjoy guest lectures from both Sonya Boyce (HR Consulting Manager in Mazars Ireland) on Legal Issues in Retail as well as James Byrne (Glanbia and Chairman of the Retail Excellence eCommerce Committee) on Retail Marketing.
Years two and three of the Degree sees students cover core modules such as management, retail information systems, entrepreneurship & innovation and finance. They will also enjoy guest lectures from field experts such as Eddie Shanahan (Retail Consultant and Product Development expert) for Store Design in Year 2, Dr Adele Smith-Auchmuty for Entrepreneurship in Year 3, as well as several others across the four year groups .
We are delighted to welcome back 18 students who chose to progress their Degree to the next level with us on the 4th year honours degree programme. It’s fantastic to see them extend their studies and to continue their learning journey with Retail Ireland Skillnet. It’s always inspiring hearing the success stories of many of our students throughout the years and it is particularly commendable to embark on such an undertaking at present.
We are now taking applications for September 2021, if you would like more information as to how the programme may suit you or a member of your team, visit our website https://www.retailirelandskillnet.com/product/batchelor-of-business-in-retail-management-practice-ordinary-degree/ or call a member of the team on 0749176853.
A very sincere thank you to all our students and employers who have worked with us through the many challenges that have faced our sector this year and have helped support us in the continued success of this Degree programme. The team at Retail Ireland Skillnet would like to wish all our students and employers a safe and healthy Christmas and continued success throughout 2021.