Retail academy plan unveiled

CITY leaders are in talks to create a new ‘retail academy’ in Leeds as part of efforts to boost the regional economy and capitalise on major new developments.

Discussions have already taken place with Asda, Tesco and Harvey Nichols about how the academy would work.

The city wants to make sure that local people have the right skills to take advantage of retail developments such as Trinity Leeds, due to open in 2013, and Eastgate Quarters which is currently in the planning stages.

Council leader Keith Wakefield said: “The retail sector continues to play an important role in the local economy. We of course have significant new retail developments such as Trinity and Eastgate in the city centre and others at out of town sites which will create significant numbers of jobs.

“It is vital that we equip local people with the skills to make the most of the opportunities these developments will bring. This is particularly important for our young people, for whom opportunities are so hard to come by at present.

“We want to build a stronger local partnership with businesses and the city’s learning institutions to provide these young people with a brighter future.”

The city council said the retail academy would be a “business-led centre of excellence” aimed at people entering the sector at both entry and graduate level and would be run in conjuction with further education colleges in Leeds.