Published on 30th October 2012

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Independent and small retailers at the heart of Cheltenham’s shopping district have been given free training courses, as part of a bid by Cheltenham Borough Council to support the local economy of the town centre.

Run in partnership with Acorn Skills Shop and the National Skills Academy, retailers at the Regent Arcade and Beechwood Shopping Centre are receiving free WorldHost training in customer service. Developed in Canada, WorldHost is a world-class training programme aiming at raising the standard and delivery of customer service in the UK.

The courses offered are designed to give smaller retailers the same training and development opportunities which larger companies have access to in-house. Once staff have completed the training programme, each individual retailer also has the chance to become a certified WorldHost retailer.

The training has been funded by Cheltenham Borough Council thanks to a grant from the Innovation Fund. From the grant of £100,000 a total £20,000 has been put aside for the training programme.

Cheltenham Borough Council also hopes to roll out the training programme to other independent and small retailers in Cheltenham through trading associations including the ones in Montpellier and Bath Road areas of the town centre.

Speaking about the development programme, Martin Quantock, who initiated the project and is the Manager of the Cheltenham Business Partnership said: “We want to help small businesses in Cheltenham’s shopping district to have the same access to high-quality customer service training which is offered to the bigger retailers. We hope that by creating an environment of exemplary customer service, we can increase both footfall and profits in the area and we can add to the vitality of the town centre.

He added: “Training was identified as a need by retailers themselves and we are delighted to be able to offer this training free of charge.”

Vanessa Hope from Acorn Learning and Development, who helped deliver the training courses said: “This is a great opportunity for small retailers in Cheltenham to take advantage of tailored, in-house training programmes with no cost to the company.”

Contact: Martin Quantock, Cheltenham Business Partnership Manager on 01242 252626