Academy launch

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A NEW academy will offer Leigh students the chance to reach the heights of the retail industry.

Wigan and Leigh College is launching its Retail and Sales Academy to provide specialist courses for students after witnessing soaring demand from employers seeking retail training.

College chiefs will now provide a host of courses at Leigh Sports Village Stadium including apprenticeships and degree-level qualifications.

Geoff Critchley, the academy’s divisional manager, said: “There’s been a huge rise in demand for training in retail and sales, and with two new retail sites being built in Leigh, there will be plenty of opportunities in the sector.

“Our introductory courses run for a few days while apprenticeships and higher level courses last for several months.

“We’re hoping to attract several hundred students to the academy over the next 12 months.”

The Retail and Sales Academy will be officially opened by Leigh MP Andy Burnham, shadow education secretary, on Monday.

He will be joined by representatives from Wigan Council, Wigan’s Grand Arcade, Job Centre Plus and other retailers.

The borough is expecting a huge retail jobs boost in the coming months as work continues on two new supermarkets in Leigh. A huge Tesco Extra is being developed, along with a cinema and restaurants, on the site of the former Barlo radiator factory, in Spinning Jenny Way, Leigh.

And work is also under way to build a Morrisons supermarket at Leigh Sports Village. Both projects are expected to create hundreds of jobs

The academy will offer apprenticeships in retail and sales and students can gain qualifications in management, team leadership, human resources and health and safety.

The college has also developed links with Nottingham Trent University to provide degree-level courses.

Following the academy’s launch, businesses across the region have been invited to an open day at Wigan and Leigh College’s Management Centre, at Leigh Sports Village (LSV) Stadium.

The event, which takes place from 3pm to 7pm on Monday, is open to employers or individuals who are interested in management, professional, retail or sales training and will also provide an opportunity to look around the new facilities and speak to college staff.

Wigan and Leigh College is one of the largest providers of work-based training in the North West, working with more than 800 businesses every year.

To find out more about the new Retail and Sales Academy, call 0800 0735712 or e-mail