Apprenticeships aren’t just for plumbers, electricians and builders. Sir Alan called his show The Apprentice for a reason: there are plenty of business apprenticeships out there. If you don’t want to go to university, but want a career in business, sales, marketing or financial services, then look no further.
Business apprenticeships are all about helping businesses to run efficiently and profitably. There are more business apprenticeships now than ever before, especially since more people are seeking alternatives to pricey university education.
Admittedly, you’ll be starting out somewhere around the bottom of the pile, but, with plenty of hard work and determination, career progression can be fast.
What are the different areas of business?
So what areas can you work in? You can largely split businesses up into several key areas:
Firstly, there’s the management, the big dogs who make the decisions and try to lead their companies in an efficient and profitable manner, and administrative staff who handle the essential tasks that keep a business ticking over.
Sales people are responsible for persuading people to buy products or services, whilst marketing professionals are employed to promote their company’s products or services.
Finance is also massively important in the world of business; most large companies have their own in-house finance teams, which tend to be comprised of accountants, financial analysts and other specialist financial staff.
Which business apprenticeship is right for me?
Administration throughout the nation…
If you have top-notch organisational skills, you might want to think about doing an administrative apprenticeship. Receptionists, secretaries, personal assistants, project support officers and people in other administrative positions are responsible for ‘getting things done’ in the business world.
Administration truly is the backbone of any company. Day-to-day tasks might involve putting together spreadsheets, typing up important documents, fielding phone calls or taking minutes at board meetings. You might start out in an entry-level position, such as working as an office junior, receptionist or administrator, but you can work your way up to become a personal secretary, an administration executive, or even an office manager.
Money, money, money…
If you have a head for numbers, accounting apprenticeships might be just the thing for you. Accountants are employed by companies and individuals to assist with various business issues. They can be involved in detecting fraud, providing advice on tax issues, analysing profit and loss and generally ensuring that all the numbers add up. Moreover, they serve to pinpoint precisely where companies are making and losing money.
If you start out in an intermediate level apprenticeship, you might be working as an accounts assistant, a credit control clerk or a finance assistant. An advanced level apprenticeship, however, will involve training to become an accounting technician. Once you complete the higher apprenticeship, you’ll be a fully paid-up member of the Association of Accounting Technicians.
From there, you can progress to qualify as a chartered accountant, and they aren’t badly paid to say the least! Other areas worth pursuing for people who are good with numbers include banking, insurance and financial advice. Roles for intermediate level apprenticeships include: financial administrator, claims handler, broking administrator and underwriting administrator.
Show us your winning smile…
If you’ve got great people skills, you might want to look for apprenticeships in sales. When we buy something in a shop, online or over the phone we are responding to the hard work of the charming people who work in sales. Transactions in sales are not always done directly between businesses and the public. In fact, many sales careers are focused on making business-to-business (B2B) deals.
So where do you come in? You might start off in an intermediate level apprenticeship as a trainee sales adviser or manning the phones as a telesales operator. Step up a level and you could be working as a bonafide salesperson, telesales professional, sales manager or sales consultant.
Marketing to the masses…
If you’ve got second-to-none communication skills and a bit of a creative flair, then you might want to look into marketing apprenticeships. Careers in marketing tend to start within the in-house marketing departments of larger companies.
Rather than working on lots of individual projects (like advertising agencies), marketing departments can focus all their attention on a single mission: promoting their own company.
Marketing professionals devise the strategy for all communication and sales campaigns, and build strong relationships with their customers.
An apprenticeship in marketing and marketing communications might see you starting out as an events management assistant, junior marketing assistant or a market researcher. With an advanced level apprenticeship comes more responsibility.
Possible job roles include: market research executive, PR officer, marketing officer, advertising account executive or even marketing manager.
There’s a whole myriad of different business apprenticeships out there. You just need to know where to look. For starters, you can search for apprenticeships and school leaver programmes here. Happy hunting!