Business Administration (England)

Framework status: Current (latest) issue

Framework details

Framework ID: FR03845
Issue number: 24
Issued: 25 April 2016

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Business Administration (England)
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Issued by

Contact name: Damian Brown
Telephone number: 020 7091 9620
Please download the framework for email contact information.


Defining Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the Apprenticeship.

On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

Profile of the Sector

Around 3.2 million people help to keep businesses running in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. This includes registered directors, company and chartered secretaries, general administrators and specialist administrators who, in addition to general administration skills, also need sector-specific knowledge to fulfil job roles such as legal or medical secretaries. 

Businesses face a number of challenges to replace those who leave or retire and to up skill the existing workforce. Amongst these challenges are:

  • technological change – in particular the continuing growth of sophisticated IT solutions which are now considered to be essential to effective administration
  • globalisation – in particular the growth of world-wide communications, trade and competition (which places a higher premium on language and cross-cultural skills) and the influx of immigrant workers from the EU and elsewhere
  • an increasing net demand for skilled business and administration staff – although the overall size of the business and administration workforce is shrinking, probably due to the impact of technology, there is a high replacement demand. Evidence suggests that between 2004 and 2014 there will be a net demand for up to 1.2 million administrators across the UK
  • skills shortages - many current business and administration vacancies are hard to fill, often because of skills shortages
  • moving from routine work - workers whose primary function is administrative are taking on other business functions, including research, management and policy. This creates particular skills challenges, but will also result in a more capable, knowledgeable administrative workforce

Administrators need a broad range of skills to work efficiently and to help increase business productivity. Skills shortages identified by organisations include a lack of office and administration skills, customer-handling skills, technical and practical skills, oral communication skills and IT skills, all of which are covered within the Business Administration Apprenticeship framework.

Business Administration Apprenticeships have been in the top twenty apprenticeship frameworks for a number of years, with around 30,000 apprentices starting the apprenticeship every year. The provisional figure for 2013/14 has indicated that there were over 31,000 starts on the Business Administration apprenticeship.This apprenticeship builds on the success of its predecessor by using employer led, up to date, flexible qualifications which meet the changing skills needs of employers. It builds in softer-skills such as communication, team working, interpersonal skills and the ability to reflect on personal learning. It also ensure that the qualification is more Business focused by including many more business specific units.

Intermediate apprentices may work in roles such as administrators, office juniors, receptionists/medical receptionists, junior legal secretaries or junior medical secretaries.

Advanced apprentices may work in roles such as administration executives/officers, administration team leaders, personal assistants and secretaries, including legal or medical secretaries.

Tasks undertaken by apprentices will vary depending on the level and sector in which they are employed. Tasks may include producing business documents, contributing to the organisation of events, developing and delivering presentations, providing reception services, using and maintaining office equipment, providing administrative support for meetings, using a variety of software packages, analysing and presenting business documents and managing projects.

The framework will contribute to meeting the skills priorities for England set out in the "Skills for Sustainable Growth" report, by:

  • providing flexible access to high quality Level 2 and 3 skills programmes, which act as a real alternative to GCSEs and A levels for those who prefer this style of learning and achievement;
  • incorporating skills to improve the general literacy, numeracy and ICT skills in England;
  • using combined qualifications covering the technical and competence elements of the job, valued by employers, to help their businesses grow and remain profitable;
  • developing apprentices' Personal Learning and Thinking Skills, to build their confidence and creativity, improving their social and working lives;
  • developing apprentice’s employability skills, making them more attractive to all employers whichever career they choose; and
  • providing a career pathway into jobs and training at technician level and higher, to provide the skills which the economy needs to grow.

Download framework

Business Administration (England)
(PDF document 4.93 MB)