The biggest network of retail training centres ever seen in the UK will be unveiled today, with the nationwide launch of the National Skills Academy for Retail. The retail sector currently employs 3 million people in the UK but 2009 saw the closure of 18 companies with the loss of 43,000 jobs. This equated to 1.3% of the retail workforce. At the same time, 39,500 new jobs have been announced so far this year by companies including Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco, H&M, Asda, Waitrose and Poundland. In fact, according to a report by UK Commission for Employment and Skills a potential requirement of around one million jobs that will need filling in the period up to 2017. In response to the growing demand for a skilled workforce, some of retail’s biggest names – including ‘Dragons’ Den’ star Theo Paphitis, Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas, John Lewis Partnership Chairman Charlie Mayfield, Kingfisher Plc CEO Ian Cheshire as well as Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Lord Young – gather in London to launch a new Skills Academy for Retail in which retail skills shops across the country will become part of a network providing access to world-class skills and business support for retailers, employees and the future workforce. Distributed by Tubemogul.