Let’s say that you’re 18 and you’ve secured a Business Administration Apprenticeship in the office of a digital agency. You didn’t exactly know what you wanted to do when you left school… But you were glad you left! For whatever reason, Higher Education wasn’t an option for you, so you chose what is seen as “Plan B” (for most) and answered an advertisement for apprenticeship, specifically, a Business Administrator.
The advertisement is asking for someone who wanted to learn valuable “office skills” while earning a wage. You don’t mind answering the phone and you’ve always been good with computers – Right?
Little did you know that the Business Administration Apprentices of today have the potential to reach senior management roles and maybe even the office of CEO! The Business Administration Apprenticeship Standards, which initially you saw as a “Plan B” option, have now equipped you with the vital knowledge, skills and behaviours required of and agreed by the Industry such as:
- Communication with stakeholders at various levels
- Record and document production
- Understanding of relevant regulations, policies and processes
- Planning and organisation
- Decision making
- Managing performance
- Interpersonal skills
- Adaptability and responsibility
- Project management (my personal specialism)
With a critical eye, there are very few organisations who can honestly say that there are no areas for improvement in some or all the above areas. Imagine if we equipped our employees with these qualities as part of a personal development programme as standard? This apprenticeship standard, among many others, are the foundations to a worthwhile career in any organisation (should the learner choose to do so).
A further example:
Learner A is employed as a level 3 Business Administrator apprentice. Early into their learning, they demonstrate strong communication and organisational skills. They further develop and display an aptitude for planning, report writing and project management. Once qualified, the organisation has a team member displaying all the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of, and championed by, the organisation’s values and strategic plan.
Now imagine that you are a Senior Manager in this organisation: As part of your business strategy, your organisation chooses to develop a bespoke Project Management function. So how do you recruit for the role?
You could go to the marketplace and bid for a group of qualified Project Managers; however, you find that this is expensive. In order to keep costs down, you could promote existing managers who have expressed an interest or an aptitude for project management in the past, but there is talk of someone relatively new to the business who has shown a willingness to develop and who has already developed some of those skills required of a budding Project Manager. Learner A, why not offer them a higher apprenticeship of Associate Project Manager?
The most holistic answer, of course, is for the organisation to take a blended approach: Recruit a Senior Project Manager and develop your current employees via the Associate Project Manager apprenticeship. Due to the programme that Learner A has recently completed, who knows, perhaps the Business Administrator could mentor their colleagues based on their own recent learning?
As a footnote to this scenario; a Level 2 or Level 3 Apprenticeship will equip new AND existing team members with industry driven knowledge, skills and behaviours. It can also be the foundation for further professional development in key areas– to degree level and beyond. An individual and organisation can achieve or enhance their Continuous Professional Development with Apprenticeship Programmes.