Guide to Business Apprenticeships: Programs, Entry Requirements, and Career Paths

Ben Maples  · May 19th 2023  · 5 min

The perfect blend of academic excellence and practical experience. You can gain a valuable degree while working in a real business environment.

Guide to Business Apprenticeships: Programs, Entry Requirements, and Career Paths

This innovative program equips aspiring professionals with an understanding of business principles while gaining real-world skills. Embark on a dynamic learning journey that combines higher education with hands-on training, paving the way for a successful career in the business world.

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What are business apprenticeships?

A business apprenticeship is a chance to find hands-on, practical experience in a business setting. These apprenticeships are designed to provide students with a chance to experience the world of business and gain invaluable industry experience, gain industry contacts and potentially find gainful employment.

Business apprenticeships may sometimes be linked with other professions. It is not uncommon for a business apprenticeship to dovetail their learning with marketing apprenticeships, economics apprenticeships and even admin apprenticeships.

The amount you are paid for a business apprenticeship depends on where you work.

What business apprenticeships are available?

The business apprenticeships that you choose to take will largely depend on what type you are looking for. Business apprenticeships are available on their own, but you can also find related apprenticeships in economics, HR and marketing.

Equally, the sectors where you can find these apprenticeships may vary. You do not necessarily need to apply in the business sector, as you may be able to find some in accounting, marketing, HR and media.

Typically, a business apprenticeship starts out as a level 2. This is the intermediate level and is comparable to GCSEs. Level 3 generally accommodates those who are studying A-Levels, while levels 4 and 5 are equivalent to a foundation degree. Levels 6 and 7 are more akin to an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree.

How do I become a business apprentice?

Employers will set forward their application criteria on their website. Some employers will ask for a portfolio of previous work and details of any relevant work experience, but generally, most applications will require nothing more than a student CV and a cover letter.

When you have applied, you may be asked to attend an interview. It is common to be asked to complete situational judgement tests, various psychometric tests and other tasks. Before your initial face-to-face interview, you may be asked to attend a virtual interview beforehand.

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Which firms offer apprenticeships?

First you will need to find a business apprenticeship you want to apply for. These are generally found on the website of anyone with an apprenticeship scheme. You can register with professional organisations such as the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, the Institution of Analysts and Programmers (IAP) or the International Institute of Business Analysis, who will have vacancies listed on their websites.

There isn’t an exhaustive list of firms and businesses that do offer business apprenticeships. You will need to register with the aforementioned organisations, speak to teachers and lecturers, or you will need to find them on the internet.

Apprenticeships usually tend to be seasonal listings and firms will list their apprenticeship vacancies in the spring, for people to begin in the autumn.

A business apprenticeship is a chance to find hands-on, practical experience in a business setting.

What are the entry requirements for a business apprenticeship?

Most businesses will have different entry requirements. Usually, you will need to have studied Mathematics and English at GCSE and A-Level. Some employers may accept a BTEC as a qualification, while others may not - the same can also be said for those who have studied T-Levels.

The requirements may also include potential pathways. Applying for an apprenticeship with a company may mean that you are required to move to the next level of the apprenticeship. You may also be required to enter into a contract of employment with the company for a set period of time when the apprenticeship officially ends.

Academic performance can also be important. This is not just for getting the apprenticeship in the first place. This may also be true of the academic performance you display at your approved learning provider - you may be required to perform at a certain grade level.

Prior experience can often be helpful. It is not always necessary, especially when applying for levels 2 and 3. However, they can be good ways to stand apart from the crowd.

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What do business apprenticeships involve?

This will depend on the firm you are working for and on the apprenticeship you take on. At higher levels, you will have a more complex workload than if you are working on a lower-levelled apprenticeship.

The things you will be required to do will depend on what kind of business apprenticeship you take on. Typically, your role will include, but not be limited to:

  • Agree and work on budgets.
  • Carry out small areas of market research and competitor analysis.
  • Helping to implement new business ideas.
  • Liaising with clients.
  • Manage conflict.
  • Research new products.
  • Source supplies.
  • Typing up important documents.

These roles may change depending on the level of apprenticeship you are sitting. You will also have assessments to contend with too. These work in much the same way as a continuing professional development (CPD) - you will be assessed on coursework, essays, presentations and written exams. However, you will also be assessed by your employer, though they will have other parameters to assess you by.

Most businesses will have different entry requirements.

Who are business apprenticeships aimed at?

Business apprenticeships are ordinarily aimed at students looking for an alternative to university. That does not mean that students pre-university or mature students cannot take a business apprenticeship, they are just usually advertised to university-aged students.

Those who have a degree cannot apply for a degree apprenticeship. You may be able to apply for other apprenticeships or part-time roles if you do not want to try for a full-time position.

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How much will I be paid for a business apprenticeship?

The amount you are paid for a business apprenticeship depends on where you work. Generally, employers tend to pay workers in line with the apprenticeship wage set forward by the UK government.

Despite this, businesses may have their own internal pay structure. The apprenticeship wage set forward by the government is merely the minimum apprentices must be paid. If an employer wants to give you a full salary, then this will be at their discretion.

This will depend on the firm you are working for and on the apprenticeship you take on.

What careers can I find with a business apprenticeship?

This will largely depend on you and what you want to do after you have completed your degree. Most who complete this apprenticeship tend to look into similar career paths to the one they have just studied in their apprenticeship.

Potential careers include:

  • Business development manager
  • Business support officer
  • Customer service manager
  • Finance manager
  • HR manager
  • Marketing executive
  • Office manager
  • Procurement manager

You do not just have to find work related to your apprenticeship though. Other careers can include:

  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Building surveyor
  • Environmental manager
  • Investment banker
  • Mediator
  • Quantity surveyor
  • Solicitor

Many of these careers may require specific industry qualifications. You may need to sit specific exams or carry out specific types of work before you will be accepted by an employer, so make sure you do your research on these jobs before applying.

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