The retail sector has taken a first step on the path to becoming part of the National Skills Academy network.
The proposed academy, which is at the business planning stage, will aim to provide tailor-made vocational education and training for the retail industry.
The government has so far approved academies for the construction, financial services, manufacturing and food and drink manufacturing industries. The aim is to have 12 academies operational by 2008.
Skills minister Phil Hope explained: "National Skills Academies are starting to transform vocational training sector by sector. It's good news that more organisations are now on their way to joining the growing network of operational academies and those heading for the completion of their business plans."