We are all reeling at the moment, and it’s actually a challenge to adjust to a life of social distancing. But we know that now more than ever we need to focus on our core mission of supporting mothers in the workplace. So we are delighted to be able to announce an opportunity to support women that are most in need of support right now, given the situation facing the country.
The UK retail sector has been struggling for a number of years, before Coronavirus hit, faced with huge disruption from technology and the changing way that customers buy the things we want. We have lost some of our most iconic retailers in the past decade, Woolworths, C&A, BHS, and most recently Laura Ashley. Post Coronavirus lockdown we have now seen high street retailers shut up shop completely, with staff concerned about their futures.
We are particularly worried about the impact this will have on women. The retail sector employs more than 2.8 million workers in the UK. Almost 60% of these are female because it is one of the few sectors that provides flexible employment solutions. That’s over 1.5 million women whose jobs are at risk.
As well as working in a vulnerable sector these women also have a skill set that’s considered vulnerable. A significant number of women working in the retail sector hold sales and customer service roles. This is much higher than in other sectors, with 51% of retail staff holding these roles compared to just 7% on average. Across all industries, sales and customer services roles are being replaced with automated solutions. Self-checkouts are replacing check out staff and internet chatbots are replacing customer services teams.
Now, more than ever, retail workers need to learn new skills to help support them future-proof their employment. Unfortunately, research shows that retail employers aren’t investing in training their staff.
With so many mothers working in this at-risk sector, in these at-risk roles, Digital Mums are working to develop a solution.
So what are we doing about it?
Digital Mums will be providing up to 250 free spaces on our summer Digital Bootcamp for mothers currently working in these roles within the retail sector.
Our Digital Bootcamp is a 10-week online course designed to build the 21st-century skills most in-demand from employers. These skills are the least likely to be replaced by machines - empathy and communication, digital collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and storytelling. We also provide a wrap-around coaching framework to develop the mindsets required for career adaptability because skills are just one piece of the puzzle.
Our Bootcamp is 100% designed around the needs of mothers. The mixture of bite-sized, anytime, anywhere learning with structured evening weekly sessions run by our CoFounders Nikki and Kathryn makes it the perfect blend of fun and flexible. And because students work in small groups on a real business challenge for Digital Mums the course feels totally different from studying at school.
The Bootcamp is suitable for any level of learner and requires 4-5 hours of self-study each week. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never learned online before, or if you haven’t learned since school. We are experts at supporting women of all ages and abilities.
The Bootcamp is also designed to deliver impact for employers, creating a future workforce of customer-centric problem-solvers, equipped with the digital capabilities to support the business to weather challenging times. If you are a retail employer do get in touch to find out how we might provide free spaces for your staff.
The Bootcamp will run throughout May to July.
Who is eligible?
Women will be eligible for a free place on the Digital Bootcamp (worth £499) if you meet the following criteria:
- You are currently a mother, regardless of whether your children are dependents (under 18)
- You are employed in the retail sector (you also qualify if you are currently on furlough which means that the Government is contributing to your salary because otherwise, you would be in danger of being made redundant due to the Coronavirus crisis)
- You do not hold a University degree
- You work in a sales/retail assistant role or customer support/services role.
In addition, we will be looking to actively:
- Recruit 50% of students from outside of Greater London
- Recruit 20% of students to be 45 or over.
How can people apply?
If you are interested in applying, or if you know someone who might be, simply send them to fill out a few questions via this survey. That’s it for now, if they leave their information we will be in touch.
If you are a retail employer interested in training your staff get in touch with Kathryn Tyler via LinkedIn here.