The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has announced a new partnership with the University of Surrey’s Department of Marketing and Retail Management to offer the first Diploma in Convenience Retailing.

The programme is aimed at anyone looking to develop their expertise in convenience retailing, whether it be area managers in retail and wholesale, sales specialists in FMCG companies, independent retailers or consultants with an interest in the sector.

The first participants in the programme will begin in January 2020, with course content blending lectures and study with real world experience and learning opportunities at key ACS events like the Technology Showcase and Summit.

Those taking part will learn about the factors that influence convenience retailing, the ins and outs of store management and delivering value in convenience formats, enabling participants to look ahead at what the future might look like for the sector.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Surrey Business School is one of the top institutions of its kind in the UK, and we are delighted to partner with them to be able to offer this Diploma. Convenience retailing is one of the most dynamic, innovative and fast-moving sectors in the UK and has never been more relevant to the lives of consumers, so this course is a great way for anyone involved in the sector to take their skills and knowledge to the next level.”

Sabine Benoit, academic director of the Diploma in Convenience Retailing at Surrey Business School, said: “We at Surrey Business School are very proud to be designing and delivering this programme in partnership with ACS. Convenience retailing is a fascinating area of research, as stores have to constantly change and innovate to respond to consumer trends and regulatory change. We look forward to taking on the first cohort of students in January 2020.”

Andy Cresswell, chief retail officer at Bestway said: “This course will give a better understanding of the future of our sector to the leaders of the future. It’s a great opportunity for managers in retail, wholesale and supplier businesses to see the bigger picture of technological and consumer trends that will shape our industry, while keeping a tight focus on the realities of convenience retailing and how to drive success here and now.”

Preferential rates are available for retailer and supplier members of ACS.