Aurora - Clients - University of Derby


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Aurora Fashions creates a learning pathway to success

“Our partnership with UDC has enabled Aurora to develop its retail talent across the UK and Ireland and create a succession pipeline for our next generation of managers and leaders.”
Kay Vessey, Senior Organisational Development Partner, Aurora Fashions

Aurora Fashions wanted to buck the high-turnover trend in the fashion industry and retain its best people, supporting them to become its future leaders. They asked us to help create an attractive, accredited learning pathway.

Their brief

Aurora was keen to retain and develop its best staff by establishing a clear learning and career pathway, enabling talented sales staff to progress.

There were several challenges however: employees were spread across the UK and Ireland, and learning couldn’t be allowed to adversely affect the day-to-day running of stores.

Our solution

We created a programme that offered 3 higher education level qualifications, appropriate for several levels of employee:

  • A Level 4 University Certificate for sales staff and supervisors to progress to store managers.
  • A Level 5 University Diploma for store managers to progress to flagship store managers.
  • A Level 6 Advanced University Diploma for flagship store managers to progress to area managers.

Each qualification was tailored to Aurora’s business and the company’s leadership qualities.

Once employees completed the Aurora qualification, they could top-up their award to a higher-level qualification – such as a Foundation Degree or a BA (Hons) degree. Aurora was keen to encourage top-ups and would sponsor selected employees to do so.

Since the programme was work based – meaning the material directly related to people’s jobs and could be mostly completed at work – travel and disruption to store operations was kept to a minimum.

A range of tools and activities gave learners plenty of guidance, including:

  • a course workbook
  • an online learning portal
  • work based tutors and mentors
  • scheduled review meetings with line managers.

Learners did also have to attend some seminars and master classes.

The results

  • So far, 38% of learners on the Certificate have received promotions.
  • 42% have been identified as ready for promotion within 6-12 months.
  • When participants managed a store for a day as part of the programme, sales increased by between 10% and 152%.
  • In comparison to external recruitment fees, programme set up and learner cost has already given a ROI of 146%.

Following the success of the Certificate, Aurora has been inundated with applications for the Diploma programme. The Advanced Diploma is currently in development.

“The A2 programme has been fantastic! It has given me opportunities to learn about leadership and develop from a sales advisor into a manager. I have learned how to think commercially, inspire my team to present excellent customer service, and drive sales. I would recommend this course to other people.”
Kate Marr, Coast

An award winning partnership

The programme won two awards at the Training Journal Awards in the Best Practice in Learning Transfer and Best Use of Technology in Learning categories.