BRC acquires Oxford Summer School from Bira

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has acquired OSS Retail, formally known as the Oxford Summer School, from the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).

The move is part of BRC’s Better Jobs campaign and its ongoing commitment to repositioning retail as a career of choice.

BRC said: ‘With the changing nature of jobs in the retail industry, talent retention and development are vital to the industry’s ongoing transformation. OSS Retail has an amazing heritage of over 90 years in developing talent across the industry. Its unparalleled leadership programmes are run by retailers for retailers.

‘The OSS alumni include many well-known retail leaders including Mark Newton-Jones, ceo of Mothercare, and Marigay McKee, former president of Saks Fifth Avenue.

‘The reputational strength and reach of the BRC, combined with the training expertise and industry support of OSS Retail, will create a platform that can build on past successes and deliver highly regarded programmes, with the BRC accelerating the development of its careers and professional development offer.’

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “This is an exciting time for the industry as it responds to the changing retail landscape. With technology changing the way consumers shop, it is essential we invest in the people who will facilitate the future successes of the industry.

“Recently, our BRC Learning division has launched two new apprenticeships into the market and launched Rethink Retail, our new careers guidance website. Working with OSS Retail will allow us to further build on our careers and development offering, for the benefit of our members and the wider industry.”

Dominic Prendergast, consultant managing director of OSS Retail, said: “We are delighted to have joined the BRC, who will enable us to continue our growth plans and target a wider customer base. This demonstrates our commitment to continue developing our customers’ talent, at the same time underpinning retail as a career of choice.”

The OSS Retail Academy will take place over seven days at Keble College in Oxford from August 7 to August 23. The Academy is aimed at experienced managers in retail operations and head office functions, store and field management roles, and managers of leading independent retailers.

The residential scheme focuses on five retail themes: People, Finance, Merchandise, Brand and Retail Channels. This year’s programme also includes the key theme of wellbeing, which has been added throughout the week’s agenda. To learn more about this and other programmes offered by OSS Retail, contact Terry Lees.

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