Visual merchandiser apprenticeships - where to start
You can get into this job through
a college coursean apprenticeshipworking towards this roleapplying directlya specialised distance learning course
You could do a college course before looking for a trainee job with a retailer. Courses include:
Some people get into visual merchandising after doing art and design courses like fashion design or textiles. You'll usually need
- Level 2 Certificate in Fashion Retail
- Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Visual Merchandising
- Level 4 Diploma in Merchandising for Fashion Retail
- Level 4 Diploma in Visual Merchandising
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a Level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a Level 3 course
- 1 or 2 A-Levels, a Level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a Level 4 or 5 course
You may be able to gain relevant experience and qualifications through a Level 2 retailer, an assistant buyer-merchandiser or retail supervisor higher Apprenticeships.
You could get involved with visual merchandising and use your experience to get onto a specialist course or into trainee roles.
You'll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for a Level 2 apprenticeship
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-Levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
You could start as a retail worker and take on more responsibility for displays and merchandising as your experience grows.
You may be able to apply directly for jobs if you have retail experience and can show enthusiasm and a flair for display design.
You can do a Certificate in Display and Visual Merchandising through the British Display Society. This is a distance learning course and could help whether you're working in retail or looking for your first job.
Visual merchandiser apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to sell products and services
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- customer service skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Visual merchandiser apprenticeships - what you'll do
- design product displays and floor plans, or follow plans from head office
- draw designs and plans by hand or on computer
- use space and lighting
source materials like models, props, signs and equipment
- arrange displays and dress dummies
- teach sales staff how to display goods
- produce brand guidelines so all stores have the same look and feel
You could work at a store.
Your working environment may be physically demanding, hot and cramped.
Career path and progression - Visual merchandiser apprenticeships
With experience, you could progress to team leader, then visual merchandising manager.
You could also move into retail, exhibition or interior design, or set up your own business creating one-off displays.
You could become a freelance visual merchandiser and work for lots of different companies on a consultancy basis.