AN ambitious initiative by the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) to improve skills and nurture emerging talent within the wholesale industry has led to the launch of the Scottish Wholesale Association Mentoring and Training Trust.

The new Trust will provide unique development opportunities for employees of SWA member organisations who have a drive for ambition within the industry, recognising the need to encourage and motivate current and potential emerging talent in the Scottish wholesale sector.

Mentoring, meanwhile, will be offered as standalone support for those individuals identified as 'emerging talent' while anyone undertaking a course of study as part of the SWA training programme will be assigned a mentor to support them.

SWA president George Benson explained: "Investing in our people builds trust and helps achieve better results, and we need the right people with the right attitude and the right skills to create a truly world-class industry in order to remain ahead of the game."

The mentoring programme is being structured around the needs of the business so will happen within the workplace, designed to allow individuals to realise their own capabilities and potential. Employees, endorsed by their manager, must apply to be considered for the programme and will be carefully matched to mentors.

"This is an incredibly exciting and important development for the SWA," said Benson. "It is all about identifying talent and retaining that talent within our industry. The return on investment will also be evident to our members as they see their managers develop and grow.

"Having had a year's mentoring we would expect our candidates to then move onto working towards a professional qualification via our training programme."

Scottish Wholesale Association Mentoring and Training Trust will be monitored by Trustees appointed from the SWA Council. "A key aim is that the Trust demonstrates fairness, integrity and transparency in its distribution of funds," Benson pointed out.

The SWA is currently working with its training partner, 121 HR Solutions, to develop a series of courses that will be available to members in the coming months.

Any senior industry executive interested in becoming a mentor is invited to contact George Benson via the SWA's executive director, Kate Salmon, on 0131 556 8753 or