Spotlight on: Business Apprenticeships

31 March 2022 | Careers Advice | Guest Author

The term ‘business’ is a broad one, but generally speaking business apprenticeships are focused on helping an organisation to run smoothly, effectively and profitably.

Business apprenticeships are a brilliant option for anyone considering a career in business. They can cover everything from business administration, business development and consultancy, to management and leadership. Some might touch upon other job sectors like finance, and related routes into a business career can include accounting apprenticeships and HR apprenticeships.

Despite the wide range of programmes, all business apprenticeships include real work for a real company, as well as on-the-job training and study, and industry-recognised qualifications. All business apprentices are paid a full-time wage and complete their training and study for free, as programme costs are covered by employers and the government.

The programmes have also been developed by businesses – in partnership with The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and the Department for Education – so they are tailor-made to equip you with the specific skills and experience you need for working in these roles.

From administration and customer service through to HR, management and leadership, and with qualifications ranging from Level 2 (comparable to GCSEs) to Degree Apprenticeships, there’s a scheme out there for anyone interested in a business career. Here are just a few of the possibilities.

Customer service practitioner apprenticeships

These Level 2 programmes, equivalent to GCSEs, train apprentices to provide a high quality service to customers, from the workplace or face-to-face. These interactions could include dealing with orders, payments, offering advice, guidance and support, meet-and-greet, sales, fixing problems, after care, service recovery or measuring customer satisfaction.

As such, apprentices on these programmes develop excellent customer service skills and behaviours as well as a knack for strong product/service knowledge and understanding regulatory requirements. Customer service staff are also often the first point of contact for a business, and can work in any sector, so there’s plenty of responsibility and scope for moving into an industry that interests you. Customer service practitioner apprenticeships could lead onto further training or an apprenticeship at Level 3, or into employment - your first steps into a business career.

Apprentices will usually need Level 1 English and Maths on application to these programmes, and will be expected to have taken Level 2 English and Maths prior to completion of the apprenticeship.

Business administration apprenticeships

These apprenticeships train you up for vital support roles within an organisation. Business administrators support and engage with different parts of their organisation and interact with internal or external customers. They contribute to the efficiency of a business, through support of functional areas, working across teams and resolving issues as and when needed.

The flexibility and responsiveness required by this role means apprentices develop a wide range of skills and take on a wide range of tasks: you might be typing up meeting documents, faxing and photocopying confidential files, or compiling important financial data in spreadsheets.

Advanced Apprenticeships at Level 3 (roughly comparable to A-levels) can equip you for working as a personal assistant, secretary or legal secretary, while Higher Apprenticeships in this role at Level 4 can lead to office manager or business development executive roles.

Team leader / supervisor apprenticeships

A team leader or ​supervisor is a first line management role, with operational and project responsibilities, or managing a team to deliver a specific outcome. They provide direction, instructions and guidance to ensure the achievement of set goals. Working in the private, public or third sector and in all sizes of organisation, specific responsibilities will vary, but the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed will be the same whatever the role.

These team leader / supervisor programmes are Advanced Apprenticeships at Level 3, comparable with A-levels. On a day-to-day basis you could be briefing teams, resolving problems, sourcing supplies, monitoring work, agreeing budgets, managing conflict resolution and planning and implementing change; apprentices in this role will learn all these skills and more.

The entry requirement for this apprenticeship will be decided by each employer, but may typically be five GCSEs at Grade C or higher. On completion, you could register as an Associate Member with the Chartered Management Institute and/or the Institute of Leadership and Management, to support your professional career development and progression. You could go onto roles like assistant manager, section manager or first line manager. 

Chartered manager / senior leader apprenticeships

Degree Apprenticeships in the business sector are increasingly popular and more widely available, and are a great way to kickstart your career in business. You can now take a Level 6 or 7 apprenticeship – gaining a full undergraduate degree or a master’s degree – to become a chartered manager, project manager or senior leader.

A chartered manager takes responsibility for people, projects, operations and/or services to deliver long term organisational success, with the professional recognition of their ability to deliver impact, behave ethically and demonstrate their commitment to continual learning and development.

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