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What are business apprenticeships?

1. Learning the ropes of business management and leading teams at the BBC.
2. Helping run exciting projects at BT.  
3. Working at the Olympic Park, helping a fun creative business with their social media.

What do these three roles have in common? Believe it or not, you don’t need to have a degree to apply for these jobs. They’re all business apprenticeships. You can apply straight from school or college.

What exactly is a business apprenticeship, we hear you ask. In this guide we’ll take a look at the different types of business apprenticeships, the skills you’ll gain, and how to get started.

What is a business apprenticeship?

During a business apprenticeship you'll learn the theory of how to run a successful business from a training provider like a college. At the same time you’ll have a job with a company, applying all the knowledge you’re learning.

There are three levels of business apprenticeships: intermediate, advanced and higher. Each level has different entry requirements and will give you a different qualification. With a higher apprenticeship, you could even end up with a degree! 

There are many advantages to doing an apprenticeship instead of going to university.  You earn a salary while you gain skills and experience, instead of building up debt. You can apply straight from school or college and take your first steps in the working world.

You’ll be able to add some brilliant capabilities and experience to your CV, giving you the edge when it comes to applying for permanent jobs. Many apprenticeships offer you a role at the company after you finish the programme.

But if you’re not sure whether to do an apprenticeship or go to university, read this guide to learn more and help make your decision.

What are the different kinds of business apprenticeships? 

Business apprenticeships let you learn the ropes of a
business management or administration role,
while gaining valuable workplace skills

As you can imagine, ‘business’ is quite a broad term! There are lots of business apprenticeships in different areas. They give you skills and experience in different parts of a company. We’ll look at the two main types:

Business administration 

A business administration apprenticeship trains you in handling the day-to-day tasks of an office.

Your tasks could include:

  • Typing up notes from meetings.
  • Sending the daily post.
  • Photocopying and faxing.

At the intermediate level you could train as a:

  • Business support officer.
  • Junior legal secretary.

At the advanced level you could train as a:

  • Administration executive.
  • Personal assistant.
  • Legal secretary.

And at the higher level of a business administration apprenticeship, you could train as a:

  • Officer manager.
  • Business development executive.
  • Administration team leader.

Business management

A business management apprenticeship will train you in managing a business well, including overseeing teams of people and keeping customers happy.

Your tasks at the intermediate level of a business management apprenticeship could include:

  • Giving feedback to colleagues.
  • Supporting your team members.
  • Finding ways to solve problems.
  • Updating your team on what’s going on in the business.
    An advanced level business management apprenticeship
    requires planning and keeping track of all the work your team
    has to do 

Roles include: Team leader, section leader, help-desk manager.

The advanced level business management apprenticeship could involve:

  • Finding ways to solve issues or arguments that crop up between colleagues.
  • Overseeing specific projects and making sure they run smoothly.
  • Making sure your customers are happy.

Roles include: Assistant manager, trainee manager, senior supervisor.

And at the higher level, your tasks could include:

  • Planning how much money the business should spend and what it should be spent on.
  • Making decisions about the direction the business is going in.
  • Planning changes in the way the business works in order to make it more efficient, and then overseeing those changes.
  • Leading teams of people.

Roles include: manager, head of department, director.

There are also apprenticeships available in areas connected to business. These include:

  • Digital marketing and social media.
  • Business & IT.
  • Business innovation and growth.
  • Customer service.

What do I need to apply? 

You can apply to become an apprentice if you’re 16 or over and not in full-time education.

The qualifications you need vary depending on the business apprenticeships you’re interested in, so it’s best to carefully check the job listing. As a rough guide, the entry requirements are as follows:

  • Intermediate: GSCEs, grade C or above.
  • Advanced: GSCEs, grade C or above. You may also need A-levels.
  • Higher: Four GSCEs, grade C or above, plus two A-levels. You may also need a Level 3 NVQ qualification.

Many employers will also want you to have some skills and experience under your belt in order to apply. Again these are up to the individual employer, but many programmes require you to be able to work on your own initiative, have excellent verbal and written communication skills, team-working abilities and organisational skills.

Chances are you probably already have a lot of these skills! Test yourself by checking out What skills do I have? 

What will I earn?

Your salary as a business apprentice will depend on your employer! But you will always earn at least the national minimum wage, which is £4.15 per hour for an apprentice (2020). That applies to apprentices who are under 19, and those over 19 who are in their first year. Then you’ll be paid the minimum national wage rate for your age.

How can I get started?

The best way to find a business apprenticeship is by searching for one using the government’s Find An Apprenticeship search tool. You can search for the type of apprenticeship, the level and the location. In the listing you’ll find entry requirements, tasks, the qualifications you’ll gain and where you can go afterwards.

You can also get your search started right here on Success at School. Search for apprenticeships now.

Image credits

Lead image and laptops via Freepik