Higher Apprenticeship in Business & Professional Administration - Level 4 (England)

Framework status: Current (latest) issue

Framework details

Framework ID: FR03990
Issue number: 12
Issued: 10 November 2016

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Higher Apprenticeship in Business & Professional Administration - Level 4 (England)
(PDF document 2.12 MB)

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.

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.              
  • skills shortages - many current business and administration vacancies are hard to fill, often because of skills shortages

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, and oral communication skills, all of which are covered within the Business & Professional Administration Higher Apprenticeship framework.

Business Administration Apprenticeships (intermediate, advanced and higher) have been in the top twenty most subscribed-to apprenticeship frameworks for a number of years, with around 30,000 apprentices starting the apprenticeship every year. For 2013/14, there were 60 starts on this higher apprenticeship framework. 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.

Tasks undertaken by apprentices will vary depending  sector in which they are employed. Tasks may include overseeing operational activities, implementing change within organisations, managing teams, monitoring risk and agreeing budgets.

The framework has been updated to meet the changing skills needs of employers and to meet the requirements of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England. It will also contribute to meeting the skills priorities for England set out in the 2009 "Skills for Sustainable Growth" report, by:

  • providing flexible access to high quality level 4 skills programmes, which act as a real alternative for those who prefer this style of learning and achievement
  • incorporating skills to improve the general literacy and numeracy skills in England using technical and competence qualifications, 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
  • providing a career pathway into jobs and training at higher levels, to provide the skills which the economy needs to grow.

Download framework

Higher Apprenticeship in Business & Professional Administration - Level 4 (England)
(PDF document 2.12 MB)