Kamal Thakar, owner of Stop Shop News in Edgware, Middlesex, is off to college next week as one of 10 independent retailers from a variety of sectors to have won a scholarship to attend the week-long Oxford Summer School organised by Skillsmart Retail and the Retail Trust.

The programme includes management role-playing, team-building exercises plus presentations from senior personnel at organisations such as Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

Kamal told C-Store: "As independent retailers we rarely get the chance to attend structured courses like this. We have the experience, but we need the knowledge to fine-tune that experience to better our businesses. It'll be demanding, but you have to be prepared to put the work in if you want to benefit from it."

Skillsmart Retail chief executive Anne Seaman said the course was a great opportunity for retailers to learn from each other. "It offers a fantastic opportunity to engage with some the most important figures in UK retail and network with colleagues from across the industry," she said.