Pre-loaded with core retail competencies, MyKnowledgeMap (MKM)'s new Capability Matrix (See Editor Notes 1) system played a key role in the Retail Academy's (See Editor Notes 2) Pathways to Progression and Accreditation in the Retail Sector (RAPPARS) project.
Run jointly by the Retail Academy, the sector skills council Skillsmart Retail, and a national partnership of training providers, the project helped employees in over 1,000 retail businesses to raise motivation and productivity levels within their workforces and improve their overall competitiveness by pinpointing crucial skills gaps and training needs at an organisational, departmental and individual level.
From detailed skills reports produced by Capability Matrix, retailers were able to attend workshops and take formal qualifications in the training and education relevant to their needs.
One of Europe’s largest retail trade associations, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has appointed the Retail Academy as its own tailored training arm and has actively encouraged its members to use the RAPPARS system, producing over 1,000 skills reports in response.
"The project outcome has helped participating members to focus on key areas for improvement and implement the skills needed to drive profitability and competitiveness," says NFRN national training and field operations manager, Charles Fleckney.
To date, Capability Matrix has successfully helped UK retail businesses including the Association of Convenience Stores, representing 32,000 neighbourhood and community retailers throughout the UK, and the Retail Skills Shop at Bluewater, which supplies training to Europe's largest shopping centre.
MKM summarises the system as a solution offering benefits for all Retail Academy stakeholders.
"Capability Matrix provides labour market intelligence in which the Retail Academy can pinpoint skill gaps for smaller retailers throughout the UK," says MKM’s managing director Rob Arntsen.
"It’s not just retailers who use Capability Matrix," he adds. "Training providers use it to collect and collate vast amounts of data. This data is used in producing the training that these businesses need in order to remain competitive in today’s fast-changing business world.
"And the retailers use the reports generated to create employee development plans that will go to improve the skills within their businesses."
1. Capability Matrix
Capability Matrix is a customisable capability and skills management system that lets employees assess their skills and skills gaps, enabling employers to pinpoint support to the people and departments in greatest need.
Its flexibility allows users to create, manage and deliver custom skills gap assessments to fit an organisation’s development strategy and culture.
Capability Matrix can create capability and training needs assessments based on nationally recognised competency maps (National Occupational Standards). It enables the production of customisable assessments and targets set by job-role or team.
The system can deliver assessments and produce individual capability reports as well as in-depth organisational reports identifying what capabilities are available and where they are concentrated, and where should training be targeted. It can also scope team or job functions for detailed views of capabilities and training needs.
Available for customer corporate intranet use or as a secure hosted service on the web, Capability Matrix can be custom developed with competencies and capabilities specific to user organisation/industry needs.
Alternatively, it is available 'off-the-shelf' and pre-loaded with a range of skills sets including sales, ICT, marketing, communications and more.
2. Retail Academy
Founded by MyKnowledgeMap in 2002, the Retail Academy is one of the largest scale e-learning initiatives and online support service developments in the UK, providing a national brand and support infrastructure for formal and non-formal learning for smaller retailers.
A legal consortium comprising universities and further education colleges specialising in retail education, its organisational structure includes private retail training providers, Skillsmart Retail (the national sector skills council) as well as trade associations representing over 200,000 independent retailers in the UK.
The wide range of initiatives provided by the Retail Academy include new qualifications and the delivery of online support infrastructures for retailer e-learning as well as the development of skills diagnostic tools and e-portfolio systems.
The Retail Academy is supported by government agencies such as the National Learning and Skills Council, the Qualification and Curriculum Agency (QCA) and leading awarding bodies, such as City & Guilds.
The Retail Academy's subscription service, Retail Detail, integrates all of its functions into one subscription, and is available to small retailers at a highly competitive cost.
Since launching the Retail Academy, MKM has devised and developed an architecture and systems solution suitable for e-Academies in large sectors or organisations, including Company Academy, an off-the-peg, flexible online academy containing all of the tools and resources needed to manage skills and development within an organisation.
Founded in 2000, MyKnowledgeMap (often known as MKM) is a dynamic company delivering web-based knowledge systems designed by individuals, for the individual.
Operating in the corporate, public and education sectors, MKM's range of products and services includes:
• Academies: MKM is the UK's leading supplier of infrastructure systems for national skill academies, including those in the UK for food & drink manufacturing, sport & active leisure, care, and retail. MKM's e-academy infrastructure helps learners and people with a stake in a particular skill to progress from entry to degree level. Working with the UK's national Sector Skills Councils (MKM's clients include Skillsmart Retail, Improve and SkillsActive), MKM has pioneered online academies that can help people with everything from day-to-day productivity to discovering and achieving relevant qualifications. MKM also offers e-academies tailored to the needs of organisations in the private and local government sectors
• Skills diagnostics: MKM's Skills Diagnostic suite allows clients to build their own system of skills diagnosis and training regimens. Its sophisticated software tools are designed to meet clients' specific needs, and to facilitate, not impose, the required solutions
• Learning: MKM's e-learning solutions, including e-learning content, delivery systems and teaching aids, are used by a worldwide and growing range of organisations from Lloyds TSB to the RSPB; from manufacturing to retailing; from the police to local authorities; from the University of York to colleges in Delhi, Bahrain and Nairobi. MKM produces inventive and versatile applications that are can be shaped and contextualised by their users to meet the rapidly-changing needs of contemporary work and training, either for use within an e-Academy environment or as stand-alone products.
Further Information from:
Rob Arntsen / Tom Holland, MyKnowledgeMap +44 (0) 1904 659465