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The SWSF Scholarship

SWSF Scholarship Banner


 South West Shopfittings are delighted to offer an annual scholarship for UK based undergraduates and postgraduates an award of £500 to help with living expenses, education materials or accommodation.  Retail is a major employer of graduates, with a very diverse number of roles such as merchandising, distribution, store management, property management, buying, information technology and e-commerce.  With the ever greater presence of online retail, the high street faces increasing challenges.  South West Shopfittings are a forward thinking company and we would like to know your vision of the future of retail in the UK, this is why we are offering this scholarship to the brightest and best.  What would you do if you managed a high street retail business to compete with online retail?  How would you try and reverse the trend from offline to online sales?




The scholarship is open to all students pursuing higher education as undergraduates or postgraduates who attend university in the UK during the 2017 – 2018 academic year. Applicants may be UK citizens or foreign nationals.





Any student who meets the eligibility requirements listed above can apply for the South West Shopfittings scholarship. To enter, students must submit a covering letter with their contact information and a 500-800 word essay including the following:

  • Why are you interested in retail?
  • What would you do if you managed a high street retail business to compete with online retail?
  • How would you try and reverse the trend from offline to online sales?

For submission, simply email your essay as an attachment in PDF or Word format, including your full name, educational institution you will be/ are attending and contact information to




 The essay submission deadline is midnight GMT on 31 March 2018. Essays will then be reviewed by the SWSF Scholarship Committee and the winner will be selected and announced on the website by 15 May 2018. The winner will also be notified via email by this date. The SWSF Scholarship Committee will review all essays received and one winner will be chosen for the 2017 – 2018 academic year. Once the winner has been determined, they will be announced on the SWSF website. The SWSF Scholarship Committee will also notify the winner via email.




The scholarship funds awarded are to be used for living expenses, fees, or books. The winner will be awarded the funds within 6 weeks of notification. The scholarship is non-renewable and is good for one academic year only. Recipients are only eligible to receive the scholarship once during their lifetime. South West Shopfittings shall have the permission of the author to publish the best essays on our blog.  Any questions on the scholarship essay contest can be directed to




We have been very impressed with the number of applications for our Scholarship and the high quality of the essays.  Although the decision was difficult we have a winner, Britney Nomayo who is studying computer science at the University of Leeds.  Congratulations Britney, your entry is below.  For all the other entries thankyou for your effort and we will soon be publishing details of next years Scholarship so please enter again.


Britney Nomayo – University of Leeds

The world of work has described the retail sector as a ‘Cinderella" industry because of its difficulties in attracting the best talents. Retail jobs are considered as a career option among the young people, but not as a first-choice career. My attraction to the retail industry springs from my interest in human behaviour and my background in Data Analytics. Compiling and analysing data from the retail industry to observe customer trends and spending patterns and using the findings to make decisions on how to improve overall satisfaction, is nothing short of an exciting career to me. I am particularly interested in embracing technology in the strategies to deliver exceptional customer service.

In 2016, total worldwide retail sales reached $22 trillion, of which digital commerce makes up $1.9 trillion, or 8.7% of the total. While the majority of retail sales still occur in brick-andmortar stores, overall growth is predominantly driven by digital commerce, which was expected to expand rapidly worldwide at a 23.7% growth rate in 2016, and by 2020 to represent 14.6% of total retail spending of $27 trillion. This facts and figures do not come as any surprise, but they do highlight the fact that digital commerce is growing and high street retail growth has come to a halt. Some may say that the online shopping experience is not only more convenient, but also more informative and pleasant. I believe that the incorporation of some of the latest technologies could transform the shopping experience in a way that is genuinely useful and not gimmicky.

In particular, I am excited about the prospect of introducing Augmented Reality applications into the shopping experience. Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Incorporating AR would allow stores to merge the physical and digital shopping experience into one, making it more interactive, informative and pleasant. My idea for an AR application focuses on high street clothing and beauty retail stores. Here are some of the of the features the app would include:

• Showing the prices of clothing/products Scanners on the shelf allow customers see price of clothes if tags are missing and enable staff to apply discount on clothes without having to manually change the tag. Store Product Scanner

• Allows you to read more information about the product or reviews (if available)

• Tutorials on how to use products or visuals showing how others use it Shoppers may be curious about how a product works/sounds before making a purchase or might not want to read long instructions on a box

• Models walking on the catwalk dressed in the clothes Where the AR app superimposes models on a physical catwalk. Customers may be more inclined to try on or buy an outfit once they’ve seen it on a model. (One of the reasons why customers love shopping on sites like ASOS)


Models in store

• Facility that allows you order clothes online if they are out of stock Often time when customers are in store and things are out of stock they don’t order them online in store because they don’t want to actually deal with shop assistants or at home because they forget

• Shows promotions available in-store Customers are more aware of promotions available in-store and can save the store to allow push notifications

• And MORE!

Technologies like AR help create an engaging buying experience and research already shows that 61% of shoppers prefer to shop at stores that offer augmented reality, over ones that don’t. Technology makes marketing efforts easier and incorporating augmented reality does not take up any floor space. The process is as simple as this:

Augment APP 


Consumers love novelty and new technologies and high street retail stores should make it their priority to become digital leaders and embrace technology. I hope to encourage others to do the same, in particular young girls and women. Besides facilitating the achievement of my career goals, the THE SWSF SCHOLARSHIP would enable me to make a difference in the technology field for young women. I am one of 10 girls in my cohort of Computer Science totalling 120 students. From speaking to other females at university, I can conclude that many either have no either what a career in IT looks like or they have inaccurate preconceived ideas of what the job roles entail. I want to give girls the opportunity to have a first - hand look at the exciting path's a career in technology has to offer, by creating media like Youtube Series and videos that show them day in the lives of women in IT and show them that they can use technology to make things like shopping more fun! The scholarship would provide me with tools to make this dream a reality.