Business Apprenticeships & Qualification Routes

Business apprenticeships are a great route if you’re looking for a way into the sector but they certainly aren’t the only pathway. It’s about finding which is right for you. If you’re still unsure of how to get into the business sector, then we’ll talk you through the different qualification routes and share insights into business apprenticeships. 

Did you know that you can even find business management apprenticeships as you advance your skills?

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the business sector is proving crucial to stabilising the impact of what is now being considered as the ‘new normal’. If you’re considering a career in business during the fast-moving world of today, then it’s definitely a good career to think about, offering a wide range of progression and growth opportunities. Although most industries have been impacted by the pandemic, the business sector is resilient and will continue to prove a rewarding and exciting career opportunity. 

About Business

The business sector relates to a broad range of opportunities and continues to rapidly grow. All organisations need business staff whether they are big or small. In short, it’s the backbone of a company ensuring that a company remains profitable. Most companies hire business professionals – from engineering to law and healthcare, but also a whole host of jobs across all industries. 

Breaking into the business world offers unrivalled opportunities to support an organisation in its mission. Are you a born leader? Fast thinker? Natural problem solver? If so, a career in business could be right up your street! 

Business Apprenticeships

Business apprenticeships are just one route into the sector. They combine on the job training with academic study. 

The level of Business Apprenticeships available varies slightly depending on the part of the sector you enter. Broadly, though, they are offered at the following levels:

Level Two (Intermediate) – equivalent to GCSEs / Standard Grades

Level Three (Advanced) – equivalent to A Levels / Highers

Level Four / Five (Higher) – equivalent to Foundation Degree / Advanced Highers

Level Six / Seven (Degree) – equivalent to Bachelor’s or master’s degree

The business apprenticeship position you take will depend on the type of experience you’ll gain. Some positions will focus on one area such as digital marketing, whereas others may give the opportunity to work across different areas within the business such as HR, sales, finance and so on. These can be job role specific or related to your chosen industry/sector.

Higher and Business Degree Apprenticeships

Higher apprenticeships and business degree apprenticeships require you to work as a paid employee at an organisation while studying part-time for a qualification. There’s no need to worry about course fees as the employer pays for them. 

To have the opportunity of attaining a position a higher business apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship you will need at least 5 GCSEs between the grades of A*-C. These will also need to include maths and English as well as 2-3 A levels or the equivalent. 

Some of the UK’s biggest firms – including BBC, BDO, and PwC – offer Apprenticeships, but you’ll find that small to medium-sized enterprises (often referred to as ‘SMEs’) offer them too. 

Check out our website to see what is currently available near you!

Other Qualification Routes Into Business

Think a degree is the only route to a career in business? You might want to rethink! Although it is true that many people working within business have a degree, it’s certainly not the only way. There are lots of career pathways for you to secure a business position.

Vocational Qualifications

Relevant NVQ and BTEC programmes include:

  • Business Support Technical
  • Marketing
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  • Business & Economic Environment

This is not an exhaustive list but gives you an indication of the routes available. Don’t forget: BTECs etc. can also pave the way for a degree. 

There is also a diverse range of business qualifications you can do without having to go to university. Many can be done part-time, which means you’re able to work and study. Have a look at the following organisations: 

Image of two young business apprenticeships using touchpad at meeting P

A Levels, Highers and Bachelors Degrees

Useful A Levels / Scottish Highers might include: 

  • English
  • Maths
  • Economics
  • Business Studies/Business Management

Do you already know that you want to go to university? Head to UCAS and find out what qualifications you’ll need for the course that interests you. There are hundreds of variations and combinations, so look carefully for the right one for you.

Degree programmes include:

  • Marketing
  • International Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business Management
  • Business Economics
  • Business and Law
  • Human Resource Management

What can I do?

Whether your career goal is to work your way up to a business management apprenticeship / position or to forge a career in HR or consultancy, a career in this sector presents a broad range of opportunities. In fact, there are too many to cover them all so we’ve compiled a list of the most popular routes among young people. These include:

Business management apprenticeships and qualified positions – Business managers have a diverse range of responsibilities. From overseeing operations to managing budgets and training new employees – this career screams variety! Typically, business managers also provide assistance across other departments to increase productivity. 

Professionals in this area normally work on average 38 hours per week and can earn up to £48,880. There is also plenty of room for progression with a projected growth of 7.2% over the period to 2027. During the same period, it is expected that 56.9% of the workforce will retire, combining the two together, this will create around an estimated 135,000 jobs by 2027!

Sales – Working in sales will see you sell products and services using methods of persuasion to prospective customers. From analysing the cost-benefit of a product and service to building lasting relationships with potential clients. 

Sales professionals often work a 40 hour week and receive an annual salary of £23,920. However, it’s worth taking into consideration that this can be much higher, as most businesses pay added commission! Although a career in sales is expected to contract by -5.1% by 2027, in the same period, a large majority of the workforce is projected to retire (60.5%). This will, in turn, create around 137,000 job openings. 

Marketing – Marketing is all about getting the word out about a product or service. There are many different avenues to marketing, from digital and social marketing to relationship marketing, each effort will contribute towards increasing sales, revenues and profits through innovation and insights. Marketing professionals are responsible for creating awareness of a brand, product or service, building relationships with the target market, creating campaigns, advertising and marketing plans and schedules.

Marketing experts typically work a 38 hour week and receive an annual salary of £32,760. It has a projected growth of 7.5% by 2027 with just over half of the workforce (51%) expected to retire in the same period. This in total is expected to create nearly 115,000 job openings. 

Human resources – Human resource professionals are responsible for the implementation of staff policies, training needs, inductions, as well as staff recruitment and retention. They often need to work closely with a range of departments, promote diversity and inclusion, review staff performance and put health and safety policies in place. Other job roles of HR include recruiting staff, interviewing candidates, preparing staff handbooks and inductions, reviewing salaries, advising on employment law and dealing with disciplinary procedures.

Human resource professionals typically work 38 hours per week and get paid £22,360 per year, however, as you progresses this can be significantly higher. The workforce is expected to contract by -5.9% by 2027, however, 67.5% of the workforce is projected to retire. Combine the two and this is expected to result in 29,600 job openings. 

Stats provided by Careerometer powered by LMI for All

Business Skills

To succeed in business, there are a number of skills which will be required, surprisingly you will likely already have some of these skills without even realising it! 

Transferable skills are the most important set to have in business as they are broad and can be gained through both work and personal experiences. These skills don’t specifically relate to any set sector and can be transferred across all industries. If you don’t have any work experience, not to worry, you have more than likely developed a transferable skill set during school and college too! 

Transferable skills include:

Team work – Do you play a team sport?

Working to a deadline – Have you had to complete an assignment in school or college to a deadline?

Communication skills – Ever needed to present verbally to the class? Or used written communication to complete an English assignment?

Problem solving – Have you solved a challenging algebra equation in maths?

There are just a few examples of transferable skills and don’t worry if you don’t possess all of these, during training you will continue to develop your abilities and gain confidence in work. Business skills that you can gain as you go along include:

  • Decision making
  • Leadership/management
  • Budgeting
  • Organisational skills
  • Analytical skill
  • Flexible
  • Motivation

Facts About the Business Sector

Did you know…

In 2019, there were 5.9 million private sector businesses in the UK, up by 200,000 compared to 2018

In 2019, there were 2.4 million more businesses than in 2000, an increase of 69% over the whole period

Source: Business statistics – UK Parliament

Business Admin apprentices with NHSP Talent Team

Hear from NHS Professionals and their Business Apprentices

Enesty, Kelly and Tom are three of NHS Professionals (NHSP) Business Administration apprentices who commenced their studies 15 months ago through Riverside Training and are currently preparing to complete their End Point Assessment. 

As someone who didn’t enjoy the classroom environment, Kelly was pleased to find that an apprenticeship allowed her to learn in new and different ways. Working as a Clinical Governance Administrator, she now understands more about the running of NHSP and organisations in general, after learning about stakeholders and regulations. Feeling more confident than ever, Kelly is looking forward to using her newly gained knowledge and skills to aid career progression.

Enesty applied for her apprenticeship at NHSP after finding many job vacancies required significant work experience and qualifications. While working as a Compliance Coordinator, ensuring that healthcare professionals can legally work, the apprenticeship has enabled Enesty to successfully investigate and manage an improvement project, presenting this back to her tutor for an assessment. Enesty’s apprenticeship project has streamlined a key process, illustrating the positive impact which apprenticeships have for many, not just the individual. 

Tom enrolled on an apprenticeship to ensure continued learning and development whilst working in a business environment. He believes that the learning gained from the apprenticeship has significantly benefited his practice as a Clinical Governance Administrator at NHSP, using the knowledge and organisational skills gained to enhance his efficiency and professionalism when managing incoming queries. The apprenticeship has been vital in Tom’s development and he would recommend this route for anyone wanting to learn without full-time education.

Having almost completed their apprenticeships, all three have gained a wealth of knowledge and transferable skills which they use on a daily basis. We are thrilled to have them with us at NHSP and can’t wait to see where their careers take them next! 

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