Tesco Ireland: Providing certified training to retail staff

Company Description:
Tesco is Ireland’s leading food retailer serving over 1 million customers weekly from 107 stores throughout Ireland and employing over 13,000 people. We are committed to delivering low prices, value, choice, range and service. In addition, we are also proud supporters of the Irish food industry and last year alone Tesco bought €65 million worth of Irish food and drink exports, ranking Tesco ahead of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the USA.

Business Issue:
We aim to provide a great place to work and develop staff at every level. However, there was a considerable gap within the retail industry for a retail training product leading to a recognised award and accreditation.

Solution Applied:

  • Partnership developed between Tesco and FÁS to develop training programme that would offer employees access to certified training.
  • Scoping exercise completed to assess essential training requirements with a view to bridging the gap.
  • Two programmes developed and FETAC accredited: Level 4 — Certificate in Retail Skills: aimed to equip learners with necessary knowledge, skills and attitude to operate efficiently and effectively within a retail environment. Level 6 — Advanced Certificate in Retail Management: in addition to level 4 skills, it introduces a range of management skills and responsibilities.
  • Programme piloted amongst 40 experienced and long-serving staff including General Assistants, Section Managers and Managers. Following the pilot, the programme was extended nationally with all retail staff given opportunity to participate.

Company Benefits:

  • Opportunity to undertake such programmes helps build emotional loyalty in our people.
  • Promotes an ethos of life-long learning and self-development which helps retail become a career of choice.
  • Provision of these awards in our business helps Tesco to develop talent for the future.
  • Helps attract and recruit good calibre people as Tesco is seen as an “employer of choice.”

Stakeholder Benefits:
When we invest in our people, we get the best from them. Senior Managers were astonished by the level of knowledge delegates learned while also recognising a renewed sense of purpose from individuals undertaking the programmes. According to a FETAC candidate, “I get lots of coaching, support and feedback on how I am doing from tutors and store Management team which is key to making it work”.


  • Understanding the level of commitment required – large element of programmes based on self-directed learning.
  • Sustaining the momentum to keep delegates on track.


  • Ensuring assignments are business-related gives programme credibility within sector.
  • Ensure delegates present learnings to management as a showcase of the work they have done.
  • Actively seek data-based feedback from delegates and capture learnings from pilot prior to national roll-out.
  • Acknowledge delegates’ commitment with simple meaningful measures: value awards / feature in company articles / photos on notice boards.

Departments Involved:
Personnel, store personnel managers and staff, FAS / FETAC / Mandate Trade Union.

Solution Champion:
Patricia Forde , Project Manager FETAC/FAS Accreditation, patricia.forde@tesco.ie