Launch event of Skills4Retail — a new EU-funded initiative to future-proof the retail and wholesale sector in Europe

12th September 2023

Today, European policymakers and business representatives discussed the retail and wholesale sector’s sustainability, digital and skills transformation at a high-profile roundtable event in Brussels, hosted by Skills4Retail.

Skills4Retail is a new Europe-wide skills alliance delivering on the priorities of the European Commission Erasmus and Partnerships For Innovation. It is led by an international Consortium of 29 Partners, including higher education institutions, training providers, retail industry partners, recruitment and digital marketing agencies.

The Skills4Retail project aims to accelerate the ‘Triple Transition’ — green, digital and resilience — in the retail and wholesale sectors across Europe. It contributes to achieving these goals through a new market and industry-led retail skills strategy and vocational education and training (VET) programme that addresses the growing skills gap in these critical areas.

Post-Covid-19, the skills gap in green, digital and resilience in retail and wholesale has become more profound, and demand cannot be met by existing education and training programmes.

Skills4Retail will train fresh new talent for the sector, through training programmes in VET schools and higher education institutions, and reskill the existing and future workforce via work-based learning and short-term modular courses.

The Skills4Retail programme aims to bridge the skills gap and support growth and sustainability in the retail and wholesale sectors, through direct and valuable collaboration between policymakers, businesses, and educators.

Junior Achievement Europe — a member of the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize-nominated JA Worldwide — is coordinating the consortium of Skills4Retail partners, with eight national JA organisations involved in the project.

JA Europe CEO Salvatore Nigro said of the initiative:

“There is a tremendous skills gap between what is today offered by the education sector and what is needed by the private sector. Our joint project will accelerate the triple transition for a more digital, green and resilient Europe with a focus on the retail sector.”

Deputy CEO and Chief Development Officer Diana Filip added:

“At JA Europe, we’re proud to be at the forefront of designing a retail skills strategy and VET training programme that equips the current and future  workforce with skills to thrive in the evolving retail industry. Together with our partners, we’re forging a sustainable, digitally empowered future for the entire sector.”

Christel Delberghe, Director General of EuroCommerce, the European association representing retailers and wholesalers, highlighted: 

“In retail and wholesale, more than 40% of companies see difficulties in finding talent with the right skills as a top barrier to a successful sector transformation. Skills4Retail is a chance to support the future competitiveness of the sector. This project will develop a retail skills strategy and a vocational education training programme with the potential to empower both existing and prospective employees to meet the demands of an ever-changing market.”
The Skills4Retail project  vision and partners

The Skills4Retail project is a shared vision between 29 partners in education, industry and national policy, to design a new retail skills strategy and VET training programme to address the urgent skills gap in the key areas of digital, green and resilience.

The programme will support European retailers and help the wider industry achieve long-term growth, competitiveness and sustainability through digital and green transformation.

The project will be market and industry demand-led at its core, continuously adapting and evolving to address current and future industry needs.

Full partners

Junior Achievement Europe (Coordinator), Junior Achievement Malta, Junior Achievement Portugal, Junior Achievement Romania, Junior Achievement Latvia, Junior Achievement Czech, Junior Achievement Hungary, Junior Achievement Austria, Junior Achievement Ireland, Escola Profissional de Vila do Conde (Portugal), University of Bucharest (Romania), Scoala Superioara Comerciala N. Kretzulescu (Romania), Vocational Education Competence Centre – Riga Technical College (Latvia), Szent György Hang- és Filmművészeti Technikum (Hungary), Karlínská Business Academy (Czechia), DSTL (Ireland), ICT Skillnet (Ireland), Portuguese Out of the Box (Portugal), WKO WF, Austrian Chamber of Commerce (Austria), Matrix Internet (Ireland), Retail Ireland – Skillnet Ireland, Schuman Associates (Belgium), Accenture, Vállalkozók és Munkáltatók Országos Szövetsége — VOSZ (Hungary).

Associated partners

University of Szeged (Hungary), EuroCommerce, SOCR CR (Czechia), SPAR Austria, Jeronimo Martins (Portugal), Intel.