We Are Changing – A new horizon for careers and professional development in retail

2019 has been a significant year for OSS Retail, formerly known as Oxford Summer School. Not only did it see us celebrate our 90th Academy Programme but it also saw the acquisition of OSS Retail by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The later milestone poignantly reflects the changing retail landscape and shows what opportunities are available if you embrace change.

OSS Retail - We Are Changing

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC said about the acquisition “This is an exciting time for the industry as it responds to the changing retail landscape. With technology changing the way consumers shop, it is essential we invest in the people who will facilitate the future successes of the industry.

“Recently, our BRC Learning division has launched two new apprenticeships into the market and launched Rethink Retail, our new careers guidance website. Working with OSS Retail will allow us to further build on our careers and development offering, for the benefit of our members and the wider industry.”

For OSS delegates past, present and future, the acquisition offers some very exciting opportunities as BRC is the voice of the UK retail industry. It represents over 5,000 member businesses responsible for £180bn of sales and employing over one and half million employees. For our programmes the advantages are clear:

  • Retail insight – The BRC has a specialist team of experts dedicated to providing insight into the UK’s retail industry. This provides OSS Retail programmes with in-depth analysis of both fast moving market developments and longer term structural trends.
  • Retail influence – The BRC works with its members to drive positive change and use their expertise and influence to create an economic and policy environment that enables retail businesses to thrive and consumers to benefit. This enables OSS Retail programmes to be aligned and at the forefront of retail change.
  • Thought leadership – BRC Member communities are the beating heart of thought leadership on topics such as HR, Buying, Brexit, Operations and Property. This allows OSS Retail Programmes to include the latest opinion and insight directly from the industry.

The BRC’s strengths supports our drive for the positive evolution of our programmes as we stay true to our founding purpose: to offer the highest quality development programme for the most talented leaders. Enabling them to develop together, recognise their potential, stretch their talents and challenge their thinking.

Each programme is designed to create the conditions for delegates to be at their best and to stretch their talents through a challenging work programme. Other advantages include:

  • By retailers for retailers – we evolve our laser focussed retail specific material each year, with developments for 2020 include new material on Adaptability & Change and Transformational Leadership.
  • Focussed ROI – even more emphasis on developing our delegates to improve their own commercial performance, positively impact their own business’s performance whilst also developing personal competence and attitudinal skills.
  • Key business insight & thought leadership – providing our widest ever network of industry leading experts, working with delegates in a diverse environment which challenges their mindset, equipping them with a new approach to decision making and problem solving.
  • Fully enhanced digital offer – starting with the Foundation in July 2020, providing a continuous learning journey from onboarding and engagement to post programme follow up and e-learning.

OSS Masters | 24th – 27th February 2020 |Saïd Business School – Egrove Park, Oxford

Strategic leadership for Senior Managers, Directors and Business Owners with influence over business strategy.

  • Creating a professional network – learning cohorts will build relationships, set objectives and expectations, in advance of the residential workshop, providing a greater opportunity to share business insights and expertise whilst forming new personal networks.
  • Understanding of the future retail landscape – OSS Masters understanding the market and what that means for their business with new sessions on:
    • Driving Disruptive Growth
    • Leading in an uncertain world
    • Demystifying Data Analytics
  • Exploring innovation – through discussion, challenges & debates with industry experts, delegates will develop a keen sense of which people strategies and technological innovations to back and how to implement them successfully.
  • Turning ideas into action – greater emphasis and focus on transference back to the workplace with personal, 1:1 and small group access to experts to help turn ideas and thinking into practical actions, aided by a session on “Landing your Proposition”.

OSS Foundation | 29th June – 3rd July 2020 | St. Hugh’s College, Oxford

Coaching & Inspirational Leadership Development for Graduate Managers in Retail Operations & Head Office Functions, Department Managers and Store Managers of Independents.

  • A journey of self-discovery and development – the OSS Foundation is more than just a week at St. Hugh’s. The programme launches the delegates journey of development self-discovery and provides them with a network of like-minded retailers that will inspire and support their career.
  • Developing the skills of exceptional leaders – the programme develops the vital skills required to successfully lead a team such as coaching and influencing, managing change, the importance resilience and adaptability and how the delegates can build a positive people culture.
  • Enhancing career performance – builds the delegates confidence as retail managers and outlines the positive impact they can have on their business. During the week delegates create an action plan to apply their learning and generate improved personal and business performance when they return to work.

OSS Academy | 22nd – 28th August 2020 | Keble College, Oxford

Transformational Retail Leadership Development for Experienced Managers in Retail Operations & Head Office Functions, Store & Field Management Roles & Managers of Leading Independents.

  • Driving individual and business performance – challenging talented retail leaders to both drive their own performance and improve the performance of their teams. Through both inspiration and challenge the programme enhances the delegates understanding of people leadership & wellbeing, finance, trading, merchandising, brand & marketing and the customer proposition. For 2020 we’re also developing the delegates understanding of the supply chain, transformational leadership.
  • Collaboration with like-minded talented retailers – creating a great learning environment for delegates to test their skills and knowledge without fear. Learning groups are carefully curated using the latest psychometric analysis. These groups are coached and facilitated by senior retail leaders to encourage debate, collaborate and share their own experiences so delegates may learn together and from one another.
  • Recognising your potential – the unique blend of challenges, debates, collaborative working and inspirational speakers ensures delegates unlock their potential and return to their roles with the confidence to make the difference.

To find out more

To book places or find out more about our programmes in 2020 please contact:
Terry Lees
M 07595 928 721
E terry@ossretail.co.uk


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Retail remains a people business. Your colleagues are your direct link to your customers. Therefore for customers to keep coming back they must receive an outstanding shopping experience, even if it is online. This e-book looks at the link between customer experience and employee experience.