FMCG & Retail Apprenticeships

Is your favourite part of the day choosing what to wear in the morning? Or perhaps you particularly enjoy working within a team and providing exceptional customer service? If either sounds like you, an apprenticeship in retail could be exactly what you need to chuck in your career basket.

Retail Apprenticeships

Is your favourite part of the day choosing what to wear in the morning? Or perhaps you particularly enjoy working within a team and providing exceptional customer service? If either sounds like you, an apprenticeship in retail could be exactly what you need to chuck in your career basket.

This is your one-stop shop to retail apprenticeships to learn more about how retail apprenticeships work and how doing a retail apprenticeship could benefit you.

Can you get an apprenticeship in retail?

You absolutely can! Whether you like shopping or collaborating, a retail apprenticeship allows you to turn your interests and skills into a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Plenty of our favourite brands and businesses offer apprenticeships and all sorts of other work experience opportunities.

As an apprentice, you'll spend your time working in a specific department (or multiple) over a period of time and supplement all that glorious experience with some classroom learning.

The best bit is that you'll also get paid a full-time wage. So those crisp Nike Air Max 90s you've been eyeing up could be yours in no time!

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Why do an apprenticeship in retail?

Unless you want to reenact scenes from Superstore, retail isn't just about working on a shop floor. Retail is a diverse and bustling industry that employs over 3 million people in the UK across various sectors. No two days are the same, and you get to meet and work with a variety of people.

You could work as any of the following...

  • Sales Associate - the first person a customer sees, you'll sell the products in-store

  • Team Leader and Floor Manager - you'll be the go-betweens between sales associates and upper management

  • Visual Merchandising - ideal for those who have an eye for a great display. You'll help with the idea generation, design and build of a shop window or display. Just imagine being able to decorate the Selfridges Christmas windows

  • Buyer - you'll be responsible for buying goods to be sold in the store. Great for those who love retail trends and negotiation

  • Advertising and Marketing Manager - marketers are the chameleons of business and are used in most, if not all, sectors. You'll help bring traffic to the business online and in person

  • Customer Service Agent - for the world's problem solvers, you'll be the customer's first point of contact for any help with purchases, general enquiries, or complaints.

It's important to know that retail isn't just working in a clothes shop. The sector can also include groceries, pharmacies and warehouses.

Retail isn't confined to working as part of big chains, department stores, or shops. There are loads of opportunities to work for small businesses and e-commerce companies.

Ecommerce is a massive part of retail and is currently worth £2.1 billion. You could work for some of the largest online retailers, including Amazon, ASOS and eBay.

"I love working for TUI UK. The programme is well thought-out. It allows me to work my dream job and get a qualification. I will be able to use this qualification in the future if I want to go onto other jobs." (Level 3 Retail Apprentice at TUI UK & Ireland)


Not quite sure about apprenticeships? Don't worry, we have you covered. Click below to read our Guide to Apprenticeships to get a full breakdown of what they are.


What are the different types of retail apprenticeships?

Hold on to your shopping carts because there are loads to choose from.

You can do a retail apprenticeship in the following levels...


Like Beyoncé/Sasha Fierce/Queen B/Bey, a retailer apprenticeship has many names: retail assistant, cashier, till clerk, shop assistant. Your main goal is to help customers during their shopping experience, whether finding stock, serving a customer at the till, or general upkeep of the shop.

Supply Chain Operator

Here you'll manage the movement of goods for different customers, big or small, over a wide range of sectors.

Assistant Buyer

You'll assist with sourcing, maintaining and delivering the right products. Here you'll use brand knowledge to get the job and build relationships with retail establishments, suppliers and designers.

Assistant Visual Merchandiser

Also known as a window dresser or display assistant, you'll design stunning window displays that show off some of the season's best-selling or latest products. This can include the use of props, banners and even art installations.

Retail Team Leader

Being a team leader is equal parts fun and important. You'll be responsible for the day-to-day co-management of the team and some store operations. See being a team leader as the middle-man between team members and upper management.


Yes! You can do an apprenticeship in butchery. It's a highly skilled profession that'll allow you to work in either the processing or retail side of being a butcher.

Click below to find out more about the companies that offer apprenticeships in retail.


"The biggest advice I could give someone new is take every available opportunity and really put your all into everything you do. I was able to go from being on work experience to a department manager in four years as I took every opportunity available to better myself. I also threw myself into difficult situations which gave me a new wealth of experience." (Decor Manager & Level 3 Apprenticeship at B&Q)


What do you do in a retail apprenticeship?

You'll be given responsibility from day one of your apprenticeship, meaning there'll be loads to get stuck in with immediately.

The kinds of tasks you'll do depend on the type and level of apprenticeship and level. We've included some real-life examples of apprenticeship descriptions below to give you an idea.

National Buying Apprentice (Higher)

Scheme length: 18 months
Salary: £18,000 - £19,999

Tasks include:

  • Manage the seasonal timeline of product development through to launch

  • Work alongside the logistics team to help optimise the supply chain from factory to store

  • Carry out general administration, word processing, data entry and filing.

Skills wanted:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

  • Organisational skills

  • Ability to prioritise effectively and manage time in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

Entry requirements:

  • GSCE Maths & English - Grade C or above

  • IT Skills - Microsoft Office

Team Leader Apprenticeship (Advanced)

Scheme length: 18 months
Salary: £18,000 - £19,999

Tasks include:

  • Training team members to improve their customer service skills

  • Manage and be responsible for all cash handling, banking and safe procedures, always following company standards

  • Maintain an immaculately clean and safe shop by creating an efficient cleaning rota.

Skills wanted:

  • You must have some experience supervising or leading a team in the Hospitality industry

  • Retail savvy and understand the daily tasks of a barista

  • Confidence talking and excellent customer service.

Entry requirements:

There are no formal entry criteria (GCSEs or equivalent). Employers mainly recruit on behaviours instead of qualifications, and you will be supported to gain Functional Skills in English and Maths alongside the apprenticeship if required.

Food Professional Retail Degree Apprenticeship

Scheme length: 5 years
Salary: £16,000 - £17,999

Tasks include:

  • Develop technology and innovation to deliver new, better and more sustainable ice cream and beverages products

  • Making food samples, organising taste tests and hosting focus groups

  • Manage relationships with international suppliers

Skills wanted:

  • Excellent time management

  • Detail-oriented

  • Able to adapt to any situation

Entry requirements:

  • GCSEs, including English Language and Maths at grade 5 or above

  • A minimum of three A-Levels or equivalent with grades of BBC or above (including Maths at grade B or above

  • Another STEM project/qualification

Meet Hafsa, a retail degree apprentice with Morrisons

Which companies can I do an apprenticeship with?

There are hundreds of companies that offer retail apprenticeships in various levels and sectors. In fact, some of the companies below have made it onto our Best 100 Apprenticeship Employers table (you should really check it out - they're voted for by people who started out like you!).


With over 900 stores and 39,000 employees in the UK, Aldi has become one of the UK's favourite supermarkets.

Aldi offers apprenticeships in three key areas...

  • Store Programme

  • Logistics Programme

  • Drivers Programme


Why not snag a role at the UK's leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer?

You can do apprenticeships at all levels, across various roles: including buying, home delivery, floor assisting and media.


The Co-op doesn't just make some seriously yummy sandwiches. It also offers world-class apprenticeships.

You could become anything from a funeral director to an HGV apprentice.

The Co-op also offers a high-quality work experience scheme that'll give you all the experience and skills you need before leaving school.


If you didn't already know, The L'Oréal Group owns some well-known brands, including Urban Decay and Garnier.

It also offers some of the most popular retail degree apprenticeships. You can do a degree apprenticeship in everything from visual merchandising to digital marketing.

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