Bricks & Mortar RetailersThriving High Street

Wales – Thriving High Street

Grey4Gold Ltd to provide and deliver, the Retail Business Mentor Service (RBMS) for The National Skills Academy for Retail.

The National Skills Academy for Retail is a wholly-owned subsidiary of People 1st.  People 1st is the sector skills council for hospitality, tourism, passenger transport and retail.  People 1st’s National Skills Academy for Retail has received funding from the Welsh Government’s Sector Priority Fund Pilot (SPFP) to carry out a ‘Thriving High Street Campaign’ in seven towns in Wales.

The ‘Thriving High Street Campaign’ will build on the work done in a previous SPFP funded project which ran during 2010 and 2011.  It aims to research, test and follow up with independent retailers and town centre managers involved in previously supported SPFP Location Model (town centre research) exercises.  Towns visited were Ammanford, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Newport, Rhyl, Swansea and Wrexham.

The project will deliver a package of retail business support for over 100 individuals/retail businesses who participated in the original Location Model exercise (this was a recommendation in the C2 Associates Evaluation report, SPFP 005) and will include a high calibre Retail Business Mentoring Service (RBMS) provided by Grey4Gold who will work closely with and coordinate with, the NSA Project Coordinator.

Evidence gained will inform innovative delivery to retail destinations of the training and support retailers and their workforce require. Skills support will consist of a number of programmes including a retail business mentoring service for Wales provided by Grey4Gold.

This project will establish a model for engagement and delivery with retail SMEs across Wales and provide foundations to achieve reinvigoration of the high street by raising skills and qualification levels.  It will also test the potential to create new retail jobs through a Shared Apprenticeship Scheme.


Grey4Gold will provide a highly experienced retail consultant (the Grey4Gold Lead Consultant (LC), who will manage the activity, timetable and reports of the 10 mentors, acting as an executive controller of the project, on behalf of Grey4Gold. The LC who will report weekly, throughout the project, to two members of the Grey4Gold board, one of whom will be Rowland Gee, CEO of Grey4Gold.

The LC will work with the NSA Project Coordinator in leading the RBMS within the Thriving High Street Campaign.  The LC will work closely with the NSA Project Coordinator in recruiting, training, deploying and monitoring up to 10 retail business mentors for Wales.  

The LC will carefully plan, at the outset, with the NSA Project Coordinator, the most effective use of time to make the maximum impact.

At least one of the mentors will be fully bilingual and able to offer retail business mentoring inWelsh. 

Grey4Gold will ensure that appointed mentors are highly experienced in retail and able to offer supportive, retail-specific mentoring to independent retailers in Wales.  The mentoring service will be linked to the network of skills shops in Wales and Welsh Government’s Workforce Development Advisers to provide one-to-one or town/location retail-specific support. 

The LC will ensure that prior to the mentors commencing their work, a pre-meeting fact sheet, content to be agreed with NSA Project Coordinator, will be sent to the businesses involved to maximise the benefit of the one-to-one mentoring when it takes place.

Project/Exercise Description:

The RBMS will work with up to 100 independent retailers in 7 towns in Wales.  The service, fronted by the PM, will work closely with the NSA Project Coordinator and town centre teams to ensure engaged retailers are offered the full mentoring service. The most ‘best fit’ mentors will be matched with the retailers.

The CEO of NSA for retail, the CEO of Grey4Gold, the NSA Project Coordinator and the LC, will agree the final content of the RBMS.

Grey4Gold will provide up to 10 highly experienced, fully vetted and hand-picked retail-specific individuals, to mentor and support independent retailers, either on a one-to-one or small group basis.

Some of the retailers will have taken part in mystery shopping exercises that was part of Location Model work, carried out during 2010 and 2011.

At least one of the mentors should be fully bilingual and able to offer mentoring support through the medium of Welsh.

It is expected that up to 100 retailers should benefit from two visits from a retail business mentor.

Grey4Gold, subject to agreement, recommends that the first visit concentrates on Finance & Control and the second on Trading & Marketing.

These retailers will be based in or around Ammanford, Camarthen, Llanelli, Newport, Rhyl, Swansea and Wrexham.  The RBMS will be ready to start working with retailers from early February and complete up to 200 visits by 30th June 2013.

The Grey4Gold LC will attend the Retail Focus Groups that will be held in each of the 7 towns from mid-January to late February 2013.


Grey4Gold, working closely with the NSA Project Coordinator will recruit 10 highly experienced, fully vetted and hand-picked retail-specific individuals, to mentor and support the Welsh independent retailers.

Grey4Gold has already identified from its database, a significant number of mentors who live in, or very close to, Wales.

The Grey4Gold LC working with the NSA Project Coordinator and Project Team will collate and analyse the RBMS pre-meeting fact sheet, also taking into account the findings from the Location Model, to identify any training needs to ensure that retailers wishing to work with a mentor are offered the most focussed service.

The Grey4Gold LC will also:

  • Monitor the effectiveness of the retail mentoring service and deal with any issues.
  • Be responsible for each mentors work schedule and timetable.
  • Provide regular updates to the NSA Project Coordinator, the Project Team and Steering Group.
  • Attend Steering Group Meetings to be held in February and July.
  • Work with the Project Team in testing the levy of an employer contribution. 
  • Work with the Project Team to ensure mentors provide essential documentation on the work with the beneficiaries as required by Welsh Government funding.
  • To work with the Project Team in providing case studies on retailers that have benefited from the mentoring support.  At least one case study per town should be provided.
  • To inform and feedback to the Project Team, the demand and desire for retail training in Wales.
  • To assess the demand of bilingual or Welsh language retail business mentoring in Wales.

Ten mentors will be involved, each working ten days. Each Mentor will be responsible for ten retailers and will visit each retailer twice.

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