Independent retailers are urged to apply for the chance to win eight exclusive scholarships at the prestigious Oxford Summer School Academy level worth more than £2,000 each.

Six of the scholarships are being sponsored by Retail Trust and the remaining will be sponsored by the National Skills Academy for Retail, led by Skillmart Retail.

Run by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), the Oxford Summer School is held at Keble College, University of Oxford, from 18th to 24th August. Retailers from across the country will gather at this intensive week-long training course for a unique opportunity to network and share industry experience.

Dominic Prendergast, managing director for Oxford Summer School, said: “Bira is delighted that Retail Trust and the National Skills Academy for Retail, led by Skillsmart Retail, are generously offering smaller retailers the inspirational experience of attending the Oxford Summer School thereby allowing them to develop the confidence and motivation to realise their potential.”

Applications for six of the scholarships are open to companies with less than 1,000 employees. The remaining two scholarships welcome entries from businesses with fewer than 250 employees. We would especially like to hear from talented middle managers, store managers and assistant store managers, with a minimum of five years of experience, who aspire to advance their retail management careers.

Anne Seaman, chief executive of Skillsmart Retail, said: “Training is essential to help eager individuals grow professionally, however it’s not always easy for smaller retailers to afford to pay for the training they need. We are offering these scholarships to help them build on their skills and get top notch training.”

Nigel Rothband, Retail Trust chief executive, said: “The new Academy level provides our future retail leaders with the knowledge and skills needed for a successful retail career. Retail Trust is very proud to be offering scholarships again this year and I would urge those who want to really make their mark in retail to apply now.”

The Oxford Summer School Academy level covers everything from practical learning around best practice in leadership, finance and marketing to managing retail space. Delegates will benefit from both small group activities and lectures led by retail experts.

Applications must be submitted before 5pm on Friday 25 May and can be downloaded from