Empowering the Future of Retail: Highlights from the Retail Learning Summit 2024

Last week marked a significant event for the Skills4Retail consortium with the Retail Ireland Skillnet Retail Learning Summit 2024, held in Dublin at the Ibec headquarters. The event brought together many of Ireland’s leading retailers and learning & development (L&D) professionals, showcasing the pivotal role of continuous learning in shaping the future of retail.

Retail Learning Summit 2024


Focus on the Evolving Landscape of Retail

The day kicked off with Oran Doherty, Funded Project Manager at Retail Ireland Skillnet, presenting the vast array of training courses available to members. This introduction set the stage for a day filled with insightful talks and discussions on the evolving landscape of retail and the importance of skills development.

Sean Carlin, Network Manager, provided the opening address, laying the groundwork for a series of presentations by esteemed speakers. Dr. Oran Doherty explored current trends in retail skills, emphasising the necessity for adaptability and continuous learning in the sector. Edel Duffy, Chair of the Steering Group, discussed the transformative changes in the L&D retail function, highlighting the sector’s dynamic nature.

Dave Flynn, Director of Business Networks at Skillnet Ireland, and Arnold Dillon, Director at Retail Ireland, delved into the evolving business and skills landscape and Irish retail trends, respectively. Their expert analyses provided attendees with a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the retail industry today.

A standout moment of the summit was the morning keynote speech by Kevin Hannigan, Head of Talent Consulting at HPC. Hannigan shared his strategies for recognising, nurturing, and developing talent within the retail sector, inspiring attendees with his visionary approach to talent management.

The event also featured a panel discussion with insightful case studies on the success of the Apprenticeship in Retail Supervision and the part-time Degree in Retail Management Practice. Representatives from BWG Foods, Musgrave, Woodie’s, Aramark and Avoca Ireland, and Applegreen shared how these programs have been instrumental in upskilling and retaining staff, demonstrating the tangible benefits of investing in employee development.

Skillnet Ireland - Robert Lynch

Introducing Skills4Retail

A major highlight was the launch of our own Skills4Retail programme, as an innovative training initiative funded by the European Commission. Introduced by Skillnet Ireland Director of Business Network Dave Flynn and EU Project Specialist Robert Lynch, they explained how Skills4Retail aims to develop new talent and drive the retail industry towards a sustainable, digital, and resilient future. Led by an international consortium of 30 partners, Skills4Retail signifies a major step forward in retail education and training.

The summit concluded with Edel Clancy, Chair of Retail Ireland, reiterating the board’s commitment to supporting lifelong careers in retail through the initiatives of Retail Ireland Skillnet. Her words underscored the event’s core message: the critical importance of investing in people for the growth and sustainability of the retail sector.

The Retail Learning Summit 2024 was a most successful event and was a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and dedication to the future of retail. As the industry continues to evolve, events like these serve as vital platforms for sharing knowledge, fostering connections, and driving forward the mission of creating a skilled, adaptable, and vibrant retail workforce

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