Opening doors to careers in a range of sectors, business, consulting and management apprenticeships are available at a variety of levels and enable you to earn while you learn

What business apprenticeships are available?

Business apprenticeships focus on helping an organisation to run effectively and profitably and can encompass a range of functions.

Apprenticeship schemes are available in the following areas:

Some business apprenticeships can touch upon other job sectors, such as:

Business and management-related schemes start at intermediate level (Level 2 - comparable to GCSEs), but the majority are set at advanced level (Level 3 - equivalent to A-levels) and progress to higher (Levels 4 and 5 - comparable to a foundation degree or above) before reaching degree apprenticeship level (Levels 6 and 7 - equivalent to a Bachelors or Masters degree).

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) provides details of the standards for business apprenticeships, so you can read about what each level involves for the:

  • Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor Apprenticeship
  • Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenticeship
  • Level 6 Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship
  • Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships usually take between one and four years to complete. The duration depends on the type and level of the programme, with degree apprenticeships lasting the longest.

As an apprentice you'll work for a company and receive on-the-job training and study to achieve industry-recognised qualifications. You'll be paid a full-time wage and will complete the programme totally debt free, as all study and training costs are covered by your employer and the government.

To find out more about how apprenticeships work, see what is an apprenticeship?

Which firms offer business apprenticeships?

Business administrators, advisers, developers, managers and consultants are needed in almost all sectors. Here's a selection of business-related apprenticeships to consider:

  • Aldi - Store Management Apprenticeship.
  • Amazon - Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Apprenticeship, Product Manager Apprenticeship and the Project Management Apprenticeship.
  • Aon - Commercial Risk and Reinsurance Apprenticeship and the Client Management Apprenticeship.
  • AstraZeneca - Business Administration Apprenticeship and the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Practitioner Apprenticeship.
  • Babcock - Business and Administration Apprenticeship and the Project Management Degree Apprenticeship.
  • British Airways (BA) - Business Professional Apprenticeship and the Aspiring Leader Degree Apprenticeship.
  • EY - Business Leadership and Management Practice Degree Apprenticeship and the Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy (TRS) Degree Apprenticeship.
  • KPMG - Business Services Apprenticeship, the Consulting Apprenticeship and the Consulting Managed Services Apprenticeship.
  • Nestlé - Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Network Rail - Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Apprenticeship and the Project Management Degree Apprenticeship.
  • National Health Service (NHS) - Business Administrator Apprenticeship. Read about nursing apprenticeships.
  • Siemens - Business Administration Apprenticeship.
  • Transport for London (TfL) - General Management Degree Apprenticeship and the Sustainability (Environmental Practitioner) Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Unilever - Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship.

In addition to exploring websites of the most popular employers, don't forget to research small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that interest you to see if they offer business management apprenticeships. Find out what it's like working for a small business.

Be aware that some companies recruit apprentices at a specific time of year while others take them on all year round.

What do business apprenticeships involve?

There are a number of schemes that come under the umbrella term of 'business apprenticeship' and so you could be involved in a range of activities. For example:

  • Business administration apprenticeships train candidates for important support roles within an organisation. You might be typing up meeting documents, faxing and photocopying confidential files and compiling financial data in spreadsheets. With an intermediate business administration apprenticeship you can train as a receptionist, office junior or business support officer. Advanced apprenticeships equip you for working as a personal assistant, secretary or legal secretary. Higher apprenticeships lead to office manager or business development executive roles.
  • Business development apprenticeships teach you how to think creatively to improve the success of an organisation. Responsibilities include helping a team to implement their ideas and research into new products and marketing. With these higher apprenticeships you could train as a business development manager or project manager.
  • Leadership apprenticeships are for those primarily interested in strategic leadership and who'll be involved with assessing the long-term performance and sustainability of their businesses. The apprenticeship will help build your confidence in making informed decisions as you get to undertake research, set budgets based on business performance and develop your organisation's communications strategy. At senior leadership level (Level 7), you'll already be working in or moving into a senior management role, such as a general manager, senior manager, section leader, executive, director or CEO.
  • Management apprenticeships equip you with a range of transferable skills. On a day-to-day basis you may brief teams, resolve problems, source supplies, monitor work, agree budgets, manage conflict and plan and implement change. At intermediate level you could train to become a team leader, floor manager or trainee supervisor. With an advanced management apprenticeship you could become an assistant manager, section manager or first line manager. Higher apprenticeships lead to careers as a senior manager, head of department or director.

As a business apprentice you'll find that your day-to-day working hours vary, as these are set by your employer, but on average you can expect to work 30 hours a week.

To complete the training or study element of your apprenticeship you may be allocated one day per week to attend college or university, or scheduled study blocks of a week or more.

Assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • coursework
  • presentations
  • written exams.

Who are they aimed at?

Apprenticeships are an alternative to university, so are traditionally for school leavers or career changers, but almost anyone can apply as long as they meet the required criteria.

Intermediate and advanced (Level 2 and 3) apprenticeships are aimed at school leavers. For a Level 2 apprenticeship you need to be 16 or over, eligible to work in England and not in full time education. At Level 3 some employers may ask for prior work experience and at least three 9 to 4 grade GCSEs or equivalent.

Higher and degree apprenticeships (Levels 4,5,6 and 7) are targeted towards those with A-levels or those who've already completed an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship. If you already have a degree, you won't be able to apply for a degree apprenticeship.

Consider should I go to university or do an apprenticeship?

How much will I be paid?

All apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW). For apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year, the NMW rate stands at £6.40 per hour (from April 2024).

If you are over 19 and have completed your first year you must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for your age.

You will be paid for your normal working hours and any training that is part of your apprenticeship.

Read more about pay and conditions at GOV.UK - Become an apprentice.

As salaries are set by employers, you're likely be paid significantly more than the NMW, especially if undertaking a higher or degree apprenticeship.

As well as additional employee benefits such as discounted travel you'll also get at least 20 days of paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays.

Here are examples of business degree apprenticeship salaries in 2024:

  • BA - £26,938 for its Aspiring Leader Degree Apprenticeship.
  • BMW Group - £15,900 rising to over £29,000 for its Business and Management - Communications, Marketing and PR Degree Apprenticeship based in Farnborough.
  • Nestlé - £23,250 for its Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship.
  • TfL - £25,264 for its General Management Degree Apprenticeship.

How do I become a business apprentice?

Most applications are made online by completing an application form, although methods may vary, so check with the organisation first.

Apply for apprenticeships as you would for a job. Thoroughly research the company that you're interested in and ensure that your CV is up to date. You'll need to tailor your application to fit the role by including evidence of relevant experience and examples of when you've demonstrated required competencies.

For business roles you could provide examples of when you've led a group - perhaps as the captain of a sports team or when you worked in an office environment or dealt with members of the public through a part-time job. For inspiration, take a look at our example apprenticeship cover letter.

Some organisations may ask you to sit situational judgement, numerical and psychometric tests as part of their initial recruitment process. You may then need to attend an assessment centre or undergo telephone or video interviews before reaching the final interview stage.

Get the lowdown on how to apply for an apprenticeship.

Find out more

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