Business: Apprenticeships, Degree Apprenticeships and School Leaver Programmes

Find out about apprenticeships in Marketing, Admin, Project Management, HR and Recruitment

If you’re interested in a career in business (but a particularly exciting episode of Dragons’ Den has just started), jump straight to our apprenticeship jobs board!

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Have you ever watched The Apprentice or Dragons’ Den and been inspired to pursue a career in business? Both programmes are packed with drama and excitement, they’re fast-paced with new challenges each week - just like a real business career!

You don’t have to go to university to get into the business industry, in fact, you don’t even have to do A levels. There are now a wide range of business apprenticeships for school and college leavers, includes roles in management, HR, marketing and recruitment.

An apprenticeship is an opportunity for you to start working as soon as you finish school and get professional qualifications up to degree level - it’s a valuable combination of learning and working.

This is your essential guide to apprenticeships in business, so read on to find out:

  • Types of business apprenticeships
  • How do they work
  • Business degree apprenticeships
  • Benefits of a career in business
  • Overview of roles

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What are business apprenticeships?

Business apprenticeships are a splendid opportunity for school and college leavers to get into a career in business. More and more young people are choosing to do apprenticeships as an alternative to doing A levels and going to university.

Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with studying so that they get significant work experience and fantastic qualifications.

You should think of an apprenticeship as a real job - it is a real job. An apprentice is employed on a full-time basis to do real work, and they’re paid a cracking salary for the duration of the scheme.

So if you’re sitting at home munching on Wotsits, watching a generic Netflix series (but all the same dreaming about a career in business), explore doing a business apprenticeship.

Types of business apprenticeships

Here is a list of all the business apprenticeships that are currently available in the UK. There are 18 different apprenticeships in total, and have been divided by tier.

Level 2

  • Recruitment Resourcer

Level 3

  • Business Administrator
  • Digital Marketing
  • HR Support
  • Public Service Operational Delivery Officer
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Team Leader/Supervisor

Level 4/5

  • Associate Project Manager
  • HR Consultant/Partner
  • Junior Management Consultant
  • Operations/Departmental Manager
  • Policy Officer
  • Regulatory Compliance Officer
  • School Business Professional

Level 6/7 (Degree Level)

  • Chartered Manager
  • Digital Marketing
  • Project Manager
  • Senior Leader

A business degree with no tuition fees?

Did you know it’s possible to get a business degree through an apprenticeship? Perhaps you also weren’t aware that these degrees are tuition-free, and you’ll earn while you learn! These schemes are called degree apprenticeships, and there are three currently on offer in the business sector.

So how do business degree apprenticeships work? They operate very similarly to lower level apprenticeships; candidates work full-time, and attend university on the side. This means that degree apprentices get significant work experience, as well as a degree.

The level 6 schemes end with a full bachelor degree, level 7 apprentices work towards a master’s degree. Schemes last between three to five years.

If you want to get degree level qualifications, but the idea of going to university doesn’t appeal, this is definitely an option you should explore. Degree apprenticeships are nothing like a traditional university degree where you might only have twelve contact hours a week. It’s full-time, you’ll be developing business skills on-the-job as your work towards a business degree. Once you have completed the scheme, you’ll have the same qualifications of a regular business graduate and three to five years of experience.

These apprenticeships have been developed through a collaboration between the government, industry-leading employers and universities. As mentioned, the degree is tuition-free, with all costs being covered by the government and the employer involved.

Degree apprenticeships are an amazing opportunity, so it’s not hard to imagine how competitive the application process is. We have degree apprenticeships vacancies on our jobs page, but you can also apply through UCAS.

View business degree apprenticeships →

The benefits of a career in business

Opportunities to work abroad

Some business apprenticeships are with small, independent local companies - others are offered by large, international companies. A career in business will provide you with the opportunity to work and live abroad (if you so choose). Think about it, there isn’t a nation in the world that doesn’t have a business sector - even Eskimos trade. It’s truly a global industry. You might not be working abroad as part of an apprenticeship, but in your future career it’s a real possibility.

Transferable skills

Transferable skills are soft skills that are relevant and useful across many different sectors and job roles. If you start a career in business you’ll have the skills to move onto a different career later on in life. Some apprenticeships and some degrees are in niche areas, such as Theatre Practice and Puppetry, and can limit a person to a narrow career path; business qualifications are the opposite. If you aren’t 100% sure what you want to do when you’re older, starting a career in business will enable to build skills, get experience and earn while you choose a specific path.

It’s an exciting career!

As the subheading suggests, the business industry is an exhilarating career! Imagine the thrills of signing off a huge deal, battling competitors for superiority in a market or growing a company from a small-town haberdashery into a global giant. Even when you first start - wide-eyed and asking questions - you will be tested and face new challenges on a daily basis.

Below, we’ve broken down some of the roles on offer in the business sector…

Business Administration

Business administrators can engage with various parts of a business because they have highly transferable skills and knowledge. In fact, their skills can be applied across all sectors and in small or large companies.

The apprenticeship in this role is an advanced apprenticeship, read on for a brief overview…

Business Administrator

TIER: Level 3 (advanced)
DURATION: 12-18 months
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Level 2 business apprenticeship or 5 GCSE passes (including English and Maths)
QUALIFICATIONS: Level 3 Certificate in Business Management


You might think that HR roles only deal with payroll and recruitment, but in fact there’s a lot more to it. HR professionals act as go-betweens between managers and employees, and help people at every level of the business with personal growth and development strategies. In some companies, they’re referred to as ‘talent managers’ and even ‘happiness consultants’.

There are schemes in this area at advanced and higher level. Below is a short overview of the higher level apprenticeship for the role of a HR Consultant/Partner.

HR Consultant/Partner

TIER: Level 5 (higher)
DURATION: 36 months +
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Some employers have specific entry requirements, but typically look for a minimum of 5 GCSE passes and 3 A levels (A*-C)
QUALIFICATIONS: CIPD Level 5 Intermediate Certificate in Human Resource Management, CIPD Level 5 Intermediate Diploma in Human Resource Management

This apprenticeship covers the key areas of HR in the first 24 months, but then candidates have the opportunity to specialise in one of the following areas:

Core HR: This involves developing a knowledge of the principles and practices of employee relations, performance management, employee engagement and applying HR solutions to business challenges.

Resourcing: Resourcing is another word for recruiting employees; this module covers the principles and practices of resourcing, including attraction, induction and the use of HR solutions.

Organisation Development: Candidates will develop a working knowledge of employees personal learning and development and talent management.

HR Development: Excellent working knowledge of the principles and practices of running HR operations, including a service centre, technology and HR data/analytics to provide services required by the business.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the HR Consultant/Partner scheme, click here for access to the apprenticeship standard.


The primary scheme in this field is a degree apprenticeship, and it designed for the role of a Chartered Manager.

A Chartered Manager takes responsibility for people, projects, operations and services to deliver long term success and growth for an organisation. It’s a widely respected and highly rewarded occupation. Below is a brief breakdown of what the apprenticeship entails...

Chartered Manager

TIER: Level 6 (degree)
DURATION: 48 months +
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: 2+ A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications) and GCSE passes in English and Maths
QUALIFICATIONS: BA (Hons)/BSc(Hons)/BBA (Hons) in Business and Management.

On completion of the scheme, you’ll have a degree and professional recognition of Chartered Managers and Members of the Chartered Management Institute (CMgr MCMI). Wow!


There are two marketing apprenticeships currently available, and two more currently in development. The roles available are both in Digital Marketing, one is an advanced apprenticeship and the other is a degree apprenticeship. This means that you can get into digital marketing immediately after you finish your GCSEs or straight after A levels if you’re currently studying them.

Below is a short overview of the digital marketing degree apprenticeship - you could have a degree, as well as first-hand experience in digital marketing in just three years!

Digital Marketer

TIER: Level 6 (degree)
DURATION: 36 months +
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Employers set individual requirements, but entry criteria is similar to that of traditional marketing degree - 3 A levels and GCSE passes in English and Maths (or equivalent)
QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor Degree in Digital Marketing

So what does a digital marketer do? Here is how it is described in the apprenticeship standard:

"The Digital Marketer will lead on the creation and execution of a digital marketing strategy. They recognise and respond to business opportunities and customer requirements through a range of digital channels (such as Social Media, Websites, email). They actively employ content marketing and campaign management principles, and financial and analytical tools, to deliver successful initiatives that meet the needs and aspirations of their organisation."

A digital marketing apprenticeship can lead to the following job roles:

  • Digital Marketing Executive
  • Digital Marketing Account Manager
  • Digital and Social Media Executive
  • Content Marketing Executive
  • Pay Per Click Analyst
  • SEO Executive

Project Management

Project management involves taking responsibility for delivering a project from start to finish. There are two programmes in this area, one for the role as an Associate Project Manager, the other is similar but at degree level.

Associate Project Manager

TIER: Level 4 (higher)
DURATION: 24 months +
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Set by employer, but typically 5 GCSE passes (including English and Maths) and a minimum of 48 UCAS points
QUALIFICATIONS: IPMA Level D Qualification or APM Project Management Qualification

Below is a list of the skills an Associate Project Manager will develop as part of their apprenticeship:

  • Project governance
  • Stakeholder and communications management
  • Budgeting and cost control
  • Business case
  • Scope management
  • Consolidated planning
  • Schedule management
  • Risk, and issue management
  • Contract management and procurement
  • Quality management
  • Resource management

You can read the full apprenticeship standard, including a list of the knowledge, skills and behaviours this apprenticeship involves here.


There are two schemes available in the recruitment industry in the roles of a recruitment resourcer and a recruitment consultant; both are a perfect next step for a student after they finish their GCSEs.

Recruitment roles involves identifying, attracting and ultimate hiring employees for a company. It’s a career that has high rewards and earning potential, which is why it’s one of the fastest growing industries in the UK. Below we’ve break down the two recruitment roles on offer:

Recruitment Resourcer

TIER: Level 2 (intermediate)
DURATION: 12-18 months
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Traineeship, 2+ GCSE passes (including English and Maths)
QUALIFICATIONS: Level 2 Certificate in Recruitment Resourcing Competency, Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Recruitment Resourcing

Once you have completed this apprenticeship, you will qualify for the next level up, a Recruitment Consultant apprenticeship (level 3).

Recruitment Consultant

TIER: Level 3 (advanced)
DURATION: 12-24 months
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Level 2 business apprenticeship, 5 GCSE passes (including English and Maths)
QUALIFICATIONS: Level 3 Certificate in Recruitment Practice, Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Recruitment Practice Competency, Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Recruitment

Apprentices are eligible for professional registration in the Institute of Recruitment Professionals of Institute Recruiters. Hoorah!

How much will you be paid?

Apprentices receive the same benefits as regular employees, they receive a full salary, holidays and other perks. Each employer pays their apprentices differently, however, all candidates are paid for work and study periods.

The current minimum wage for apprentices is £3.90 an hour, and this applies to anyone under the age of 19, or those in the first year of an apprenticeship in business. Below is a charming table with the full rates of National Minimum Wage in the UK.

Age Current Rate
25 and over £8.21
21-24 £7.70
18-20 £6.15
Under 18 £4.35
Apprentice £3.90

Search for Business Apprenticeship →

Over 250 reviews were submitted on RateMyApprenticeship last year by students who had completed a business apprenticeship. The reviews are insight into what it’s like to be an apprentice and what your peers really think of their schemes.

Each review also reveal salary information. Based on last year’s data, the average salary across all business apprenticeships was £17,563. Imagine what you could do with that sort of moolah. You could buy around 5,000 meal deals. That’s a lot of sandwiches and an insane number of crisps.

If you’re considering taking the apprenticeship path, read some of the reviews of business apprenticeships. There are reviews of schemes with the BBC, Deloitte, EY and Bloomberg.

Reviews →