Holland & Barrett are committed to the ongoing skills development of their colleagues. With an internal training team that support all aspects of colleague development, Holland & Barrett were looking for an awarding organisation who understood the objectives the business wanted to achieve,  by recognising their needs as a retailer and employer-provider were different from a traditional college or training provider.

Holland & Barrett staff memberHolland & Barrett retail colleagues complete an induction training programme that develops their knowledge of a range of products in order to support customer effectively. Holland & Barrett wanted to raise the bar with their regulated qualifications by improving their content, design and assessment. They tentatively approached several awarding organisations about developing a range of bespoke qualifications that support store colleague training, career progression and CPD requirements.

Gateway Qualifications met with them and were able to support them with their goal to develop colleague knowledge by offering qualifications that provide structure, support progression and map against career opportunities within the company.


One of Holland & Barrett’s unique selling points is having store colleagues who are ‘qualified to advise’ in topics relating to its products and their benefits, in the 800 Holland & Barrett stores in the UK and overseas.

The key objective of the collaboration was to ensure that Holland & Barrett colleagues have the knowledge to offer customers safe and appropriate advice and guidance, while helping them make informed decisions about their personal nutrition requirements.

Both organisations worked together to develop a range of qualifications at level 2 and 3 in sports, food, herbal, body systems and tailored product and customer service. “Holland & Barrett have found Gateway Qualifications to be a very supportive partner. Several members of the team including the Qualifications Lead and Quality Manager have worked with us to develop our content and delivery into accredited qualifications that both increase the knowledge of our colleagues and support the requirements of our business.” said Gerald Pearce, Director of Training and Development for Holland & Barrett Group.

Gateway Qualifications were pleased they were able to demonstrate how both organisations could work together to improve colleague performance, increase satisfaction and make a significant difference to the learning journey for colleagues.

These qualifications make a huge difference to the lives of Holland & Barrett colleagues,  in some cases they could be the first qualifications they have achieved since leaving school. Achieving these qualifications gives colleagues the confidence to progress in their learning and supports them to develop in their career. The value of qualifications to colleagues is considerable - to be provided by an employer make these particularly valuable as it makes the member feel invested in.

Gerald Pearce, Director of Training and Development for Holland & Barrett Group

Addressing challenges with technology

Being an international employer presented some challenges, including how to deliver training and assessment to multiple sites in the UK and overseas. The use of the latest technology in learner management systems (‘the HIVE’) ensured that high quality teaching content and external assessment was accessible to all colleagues, whilst maintaining the expected standards and rigour of Ofqual regulated qualifications.

Holland & Barrett storeThis approach enabled delivery not only in the UK but internationally to colleagues in Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Spain. Gateway Qualifications developed an assessment strategy that was right for Holland & Barrett and supported their methods without compromising the quality of assessment, whether it was delivered in English or in different languages.

“Being a retailer in a regulated environment can present itself with situations that sit outside of provider processes and therefore require further thought and discussion. Gateway Qualifications have gone out of their way to understand Holland & Barrett as a business. They have worked with us to find solutions that have supported our colleagues to be rewarded with qualifications, something that we are confident will continue as we move forward to develop our next level 3 and 5 qualifications”. – Gerald Pearce, Director of Training and Development for Holland & Barrett Group

A continuing partnership

As a follow up to the initial project, Holland & Barrett requested e-certification to enable colleagues to be rewarded with their certificate on completion of their assessment.  Gateway Qualifications developed and provided complimentary e-certification to Holland & Barrett (and now all our customers); a benefit for both organisations.

It was really good to work with an employer who understands the value of qualifications and to see the benefits that has for the learners. We are pleased to have been able to work together in partnership to deliver solutions that meet both the regulator’s requirements and Holland & Barrett’s business goals.

Paul Saunders, Director of Business Development, Gateway Qualifications.