A COUNTRY that sells itself as a leading global shopping destination is to import retail expertise from Scotland as part of a university collaboration.
Students from Singapore, which boasts hundreds of shopping malls, will be able to gain degrees in retail from the University of Stirling in a tie-up with the country's Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).
Under the deal, students with a relevant polytechnic diploma will be able to enter directly into year three of the University's BA (Hons) Retail Marketing – thereby serving a niche market for well-trained retail managers.
Professor Paul Freathy, director of the university's Institute for Retail Studies (IRS), said: "Statistics have shown that close to 80 per cent of the retail workforce in Singapore have secondary or below education.
"There are no comprehensive and industry-oriented tertiary education programmes in retail in Singapore – so this is a significant step forward for the retail sector. We expect to see the retail leaders of tomorrow passing through this programme."
The IRS was established in 1983 to act as a focus for the academic and applied study of the retail industry.
Prof Freathy said the university would have a suite of offices in Singapore at the Nanyang campus through which students would have access to all the Stirling facilities.
In addition, Stirling staff will be permanently based in Singapore and IRS staff will travel out to teach – an extension of links forged in 1989.
Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning, said: "This collaboration between Stirling and Singapore clearly highlights the high regard in which Scottish education is held around the world.
"We're committed – through our recently published Skills Strategy – to helping people in Scotland develop the skills they need to ensure our nation can look forward to a prosperous economic future.
"This innovative partnership will allow Singaporeans to develop their skills and expertise, while showcasing Scotland's educational expertise on the international stage."
Singapore has more than 250 shopping centres in addition to other stores and attracts tourists who stop over en route between Europe and Australasia.