accessibility & help

Develop your retail skills with an NVQ

Did you know you can volunteer in a Red Cross charity shop in England and gain a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in retail at the same time?

I am really enjoying exploring a retail society. The staff and volunteers are all fun and caring. I am taking my retail NVQ and am looking forward to passing. I am a caring person myself and feel humbled to help others in crisis.”
Jade, Berwick upon Tweed volunteer

What is a retail NVQ?

A retail NVQ is a nationally recognised qualification that demonstrates your retail skills. There are no entry requirements and it will take six to nine months to complete.

Our retail NVQs are awarded by Corporate College.

How does volunteering help me gain a retail NVQ?

Volunteering at a Red Cross charity shop gives you vital practical experience in the retail sector.

Each time you volunteer, you will be asked to complete some questions relating to your role. You will also be observed doing different tasks in the shop. Corporate College will provide one-to-one support if you need it.

Which NVQs can I study for?

As a volunteer in a charity shop, there are four different qualifications you can gain.

Retail Skills Level 2

This course will enhance and expand your knowledge of the retail environment, and give you a wider skill base. This qualification should be taken by people dealing with customers and merchandising.

There is one mandatory unit (Working effectively in your team) and five optional units.

This NVQ will take around six months to complete.

Customer Service Level 2

This NVQ is right for you if you provide a service to customers, whether they are internal or external (colleagues, managers, other departments, staff or members of the public).

There are two mandatory units:

  • provide customer service within the rules
  • prepare yourself to deliver good customer service.

There are also five optional units.

This NVQ will take around six months to complete.

Team Leading Level 2

This is not a management qualification but a stepping stone into management and supervisory skills. It is intended for employees who are entering management or have the ability and the opportunity to demonstrate recognisable ‘management’ skills.

There are four mandatory units:

  • organise and improve your team’s work
  • organise and communication information
  • maintain and develop working relationships
  • ensure your own actions reduce the risks to health and safety.

This NVQ will take around six months to complete.

Retail Skills Level 3

Working in the retail environment, or supervising staff, this qualification should be taken by those who are fully trained to deal with targets and commitments, organisational values, operational needs and constraints, and checking for hazards within the work area.

There is one mandatory unit (Develop and maintain productive working relationships) and five optional units.

This NVQ will take around nine months to complete.

How do I get started?

Contact the manager at the Red Cross charity shop near you.

NVQs are available through all Red Cross charity shops in England.

Find out more about NVQs from Corporate College

Learn about charity shop volunteering

Read about our certificate in retail skills for young volunteers


Find your nearest...

  • Charity shops 

    We sell and need: good quality clothes, designer brands, books, furniture and more.


Volunteer icon Volunteer

Do something different in your free time