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There was positive feedback all round from the first group of STEP participants. Surveys carried out on the day demonstrated that all participants thought that the course was informative, in-depth and excellent overall and exceeded most expectations.

The SPAR Training & Education Programme (STEP) is a five module course designed for managers, supervisors and retailers to help them learn new skills and increase productivity.

And despite the fact that the market value of the course is £1,500, the Dundee-based distributor is offering the course to retailers free of charge.

Modules in the course will include topics such as service and active selling, improving their fresh foods offering, staff recruitment and retention, and getting the most out of your people.

Claire Bolton, Sales & Marketing Director of C J Lang & Son Ltd said: “Constant changes in the marketplace mean staff need to update their skills on an ongoing basis, and we are determined to help our SPAR retailers and their staff do this.

“The STEP course has been designed around the key factors that are critical for retailers to achieve success in their business.

“We know that investing in training increases staff motivation and customer satisfaction, while reducing employee turnover and the costs of supervision. It’s a hugely worthwhile investment, and we are delighted to be able to offer this course free of charge to our retailers,” Bolton said.

Class sizes for the course will be up 12 people and will be attended by staff members from Scottish SPAR stores.