25. september 2015

RETRAIN Final conference in Reykjavík

The final conference of the RETRAIN project was held with stakeholders from different sectors like retail, VET educators and trade unions on the 21st of September 2015 at the House of employers in Reykjavík. The conference marks the end of the two year project were the final product a curriculum for on the job trainers in the retail industry was presented. All partners presented the implementation of the curriculum in their countries which will be used as the bases for courses that will be taught at Bifröst University, BEST in Austria and Tesco in Ireland. Bridie Matthews, Programme Manager for the Taste for Success Skillnets Network – a collaborative training network that provides certified training for SMEs was a guest speaker and talked about where Ireland is going in relation to the introduction of a new apprenticeship system as well as what employers need to be aware of when it comes to developing and delivering training which they hope will form part of a certified qualification. The curriculum as well as dissemination material can be found on the project homepage under outputs.

18. ágúst 2015

Curriculum published in Icelandic and English

The final draft of the Retrain curriculum has now been published in Icelandic and is now available here as well as under outputs. The German version will be available soon.  The curriculum has been revised and altered according to recommendations in the pilot report as well as taking into consideration input from various stakeholders presented with the draft in the past few weeks. The curriculum will be presented at the projects final conference in Iceland on the 21st of September 2015. Although the curriculum is published all suggestions or comments are appreciated.

23. júní 2015

Partner meeting in Ireland and results from pilot

The second partnership meeting was held in Dun Laoghaire in Ireland in the beginning of March 2015. The main discussion was the results of pilot and how to proceed. All countries reported on their main findings from the pilot and made suggestions for the review of the curriculum.

10. október 2014


In Iceland we are currently working on work package 4 , piloting, in collaboration with Samkaup, a big retail chain in Iceland. We launched the piloting with a workshop held in Reykjavik on the 22th of September. Already three workshops are completed and the students have received homework assignments that they have had to work on at their workplace and then share with the other students via joint Facebook page.. Similar piloting is also being conducted by our partners at SPAR in Austria and TESCO in Ireland. When the piloting is completed we will revise the curriculum in terms of the outcome but the piloting has made a good start. We will then use our findings to move forward with this project.

To help us figure out the benefits of the program we will carry out a course assessment which is conducted in a manner that the students were initially asked to assess their skills and knowledge on various aspects and then again at the end of the program. The results will then be compared and the comparison used to evaluate the program.

10. október 2014

Curriculum design

Work package 3 which is about designing a curriculum/learning model is now finished. You can see the curriculum and the learning model here (hyperlink inn á products þar sem námskráin og mindjet verður). The Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC) led the work with Sigrún Jóhannesdóttir in the forefront. The program is divided into five workshops where the students attend and in addition they are assigned homework after each workshop. The homework will be executed at the workplace and  through social media. At last there will be an evaluation and a follow-up at the workplace. The workshops will cover useful elements such as effective communication, cooperation, help with career development and promotion skills, work ethics and values, adaptability among other. The curriculum will then be tested in a pilot program in all participating countries in order to improve and adapt it to different environment. .


9. apríl 2014

Designing a curriculum/learning model

We are currently working on work package 3: Designing a curriculum/learning model. The Education and Training Service Center in Iceland is overseeing the work which is progressing well. The people at the Education and Training Service Center are working on designing courses in adult teaching and learning which they call Stiklur in Icelandic, it is a combination of 20 modules in educational and instructional technology/methodology for adult trainers. They are designing courses for a wide range of people working in the field of adult education and human resource management in companies. Their main emphasis is on newapproachesinteachingandlearning accordingtoideas abouteffectiveness and quality in adult learning. To put the main focus on the adult students and their differences in learning styles, motivation and competences and how to meet it withvarietyofdifferent  approaches. To introduce and try new approaches. To examine the necessary connection between learning and work and find how to assure that the learning will be as useful as possible for the students and their worksituation. And finally the quality of adult education in every possible aspect.

Based on the GAP analysis the focus in designing the learning model will be on social and comunication skills also the training will be supported by available IT tools. We plan on designing three differnt models ranging from 40 hours long to a full 3-4 EQF level course.

8. apríl 2014

GAP analysis

In March we finished the GAP analysis in training of trainers for the retail sector. A questionnaire was sent out by each of the project partners, a report was then put together that summarizes our findings. The aim of the research was to reach out to small, medium and large companies as well as employees and employers.

Based on the analysis the employees in the retail sector are in need of training in order to improve their skills and competencies, consequently enhancing their qualifications and improving their position in the labour market. In the participating countries the vocational education provided for people involved in the retail sector is either very limited or disconnected from the actual needs of the labour market.

The research shows that the most appropriate target group for the pilot phase of the project are employees of small retail shops over 30 years old who have acquired an apprenticeship or have completed a VET (vocational education and training) course. They should also have experience in the sector of over five years. The training should focus on the following aspects: customer service, service management, product presentation/display and product specific knowledge (key data). The course should be created as a flexible system combining face to face trainings, on the job learning (be it mentoring or job shadowing) and accompanied by an online supporting module or a blended course. The ratio of each training methodology should be decided on a country basis, depending on the profile of the respondents of each country. Finally, it is very important both for the learners as well as the teachers that the course be of high quality, providing essential and useful knowledge to the learners and that becomes important for both employers and employees, providing significant added value.

5. apríl 2014

About the project

This project’s main objective is to develop a learning model for training vocational instructors in the retail sector (training of retail trainers). The quality of retail employees skills in implementing training will be improved, it will be harmonized and made more efficient. By this project the partners’ intention is to tackle one of the main challenges in vocational education for the retail employees according to educational requirement analyses.

The result of this project will be a model for training of retail instructors. The model, developed by transferring best practices from different partners, will be adjusted to needs and situations in participating countries. The intention is rather to adjust and improve the present Vocational Education and Training systems in each participating country.  The consortium consists in partners from Iceland, Ireland and Austria.

The objective of this project is to identify effective learning methods for training instructors in retail industries and implement these methods in real shop outlets. The final goal is to improve the qualifications of retail employees by providing them with an effective and systematic training and encourage them in continuing education.

Vocational education and training for retail employees is underprivileged in Europe in comparison to other trades despite the high number of employees in this sector. A considerable part of retail employees are young people who have not completed their third level education. By providing this young people with validated education and training in their professional skills our aim is to encourage them to further education and qualifications. Considering similar educational attempts one can assume that we will manage to reach this goal.


Project partners:

Bifrost University (BU)

Bifröst University (BU) is an institution of considerable diversity, which offers its students training in business, law, and social sciences, and prepares them for positions of responsibility and leadership. Today the number of students in Bifrost University is around 1.300 students. The University focuses on continuous training in collaboration with the retail and service sector. For the last 10 years BU have been offering a two year diploma education for store managers. The intention is to link the education for retail trainers to this diploma education.


Centre for Retail Studies at BU

The Centre for Retail Studies was founded in 2004 by the initiative of Icelandic retailers’ federation with support of Ministry of Trade and Industries and Bifrost University, where the centre is hosted. The mission of the Centre for Retail Studies is to increase the competitiveness of the retail sector in Iceland with applied research, statistical work and educational development for the sector. The Centre is partly financed by the Ministry of Industry and Innovation and the national employers and employee’s trade organisations.


The Education and Training Service Centre (ETSC)

The Education and Training Service Centre (FA) is owned by the Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ), the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) and the Federation of State and Municipal Employees, the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland and the Ministry of Finance. The centre targets those who have not completed the upper secondary level of education. This target group comprises 35% of people in the labour market, although the ratio varies between years and regions. The objective is to enable individuals who have not graduated from the upper secondary level to obtain an education and improve their position in the labour market in cooperation with life long learning centres around the country who take care of the learners (and users).



BEST was founded in 1987 as an independent vocational qualification institute. Its main activities comprise adult education, vocational qualification, guidance of unemployed people and training of key qualifications for re-integration into the labour market. The institute offers training facilities for up to 14.000 students per year. The training methods for different target groups include own pedagogic and didactic methods, especially for integration and motivation, as well as e-Learning based trainings which are constantly being updated. As one of the first training institutes in Austria, BEST has become a certified Eco-C-centre (European Communication Certificate) and provides respective trainings and tests. Within its International Projects Department, BEST shows long experience of cooperation more than 100 European projects, both as coordinator and partner. The institute is focused on exchange of experience and practice, as well as joint development with European partners.



TESCO Distribution employs 350 employees and 150 agency staff in a logistics distribution centre that serves TESCO's 135 retail outlets in the Republic of Ireland. Their staff are a key element in the logistics process and are crucial in providing  quality assurance for their customers. The roles in the distribution centre have  a variety of skills requirements and vary from semi-skilled to roles requiring high level of IT and systems skills. One of their key people objectives is the provision of high quality training opportunities for all staff, to equip them with the skills to do their jobs and to provide training that will enable them to build a career within the company and in the world of logistics. To this end they are keen to develop training programmes that will enable staff to be cross trained in a variety of areas in the centre and get opportunities to sample working in the various areas of the logistics chain. This objective fits closely with the projects objectives.



Samkaup is Iceland's third largest retail chain with 48 stores spread all over Iceland. Main focuses is on grocery. Samkaup is owned by co-operative retail enterprises.