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Shop Direct announces University of Liverpool STEM partnership

Littlewoods and Very.co.uk parent company Shop Direct has teamed up with one of its local universities to help tap into new talent soon to enter the workplace.

The partnership with the University of Liverpool has resulted in the development of a joint programme of activity across STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and other business-related subjects, such as marketing and finance.

Real world business projects will be embedded into course modules, while Shop Direct will offer internship opportunities and graduate roles to students at the institution. Leaders from Shop Direct will also talk to students as part of a series of events held by the university’s careers and employability team.

Helen Miller, talent, culture and communications director at Shop Direct, said the tie-up was about developing “the next generation of talent”.

“Gaining experience in the workplace and of real life business projects helps undergraduates to develop their employability skills and stand out when they enter the job market,” she noted.

“We also want to show students that the north-west is a hub for great tech and data careers, and specifically encourage more young women to apply for roles in these fields at businesses like Shop Direct.”

The demand for tech talent in retail has arguably never been fiercer, with retailers including Arcadia Group, Next, and Tesco’s One Stop all currently on the hunt for developers and technology support, and the businesses are finding different ways to strengthen their chances of tapping into this expertise.

Arcadia has hosted several developer days, inviting those with tech and coding skills into the business to buy in to the retailer’s transformation journey, while Next has launched a new scheme to encourage people who have been out of work for two years or more to come back into IT roles.

Waitrose – in association with one of its IT suppliers, PCMS – recently worked with Leicester’s De Montfort University (DMU) to explore ways of improving in-store efficiency.

Final-year and postgraduate students in computer science and intelligent systems at DMU helped the retailer think about new approaches to the challenges it faces, while also giving students a chance to apply their skills to real business cases.