It’s one thing to know your stuff. It’s quite another to manage people doing said stuff.

Some people who have years of experience in a particular area assume that experience makes them suited for a management role. This is not necessarily the case.

While experience in a particular area is, of course, valuable, management is all about knowing people: what they want, how to motivate them and creating the conditions where they can be the best they can be. And that, as Liam Neeson would say, requires a very particular set of skills.


Managers manage teams and achieve departmental goals in line with an organisation’s strategy. They are needed to manage departments, streamline and optimise processes, make sure different sections of an organisation work together and bring out the best characteristics of those they oversee.

The government’s new Operations/Departmental Apprenticeship Standard outlines all the abilities anyone entering this type of role may need. The standard requires all apprentices that take this apprenticeship have knowledge, skills and behaviours in operational management, project management, finance, leading and managing people, inclusivity and decision-making.

The ability to manage people is a widely in-demand skill, and so an apprentice can learn during their programme of training could apply to positions in all sections of the economy, in the public, private and third sectors. Wherever there are people or teams that need to be led, a manager will have a place. Their training will also provide them with a solid base on which they can grow their careers, and the ability to join Professional Organisations, including the Chartered Management Institute, will provide them with the resources they will need to constantly improve themselves.

Those who achieve their Operations/Departmental Manager apprenticeship will be able to go almost anywhere. And so it should be. The government worked with the appointed Trailblazer group, a collection of organisations that provided input when creating the standard, with the intent of casting as wide a net as possible to get a wide array of perspectives. Companies involved in creating this standard included Barclays Bank, the BBC, HMRC, Sainsbury’s, Opus Building Services and Gateshead Council. By including these perspectives and incorporating the needs of a diversity of organisations, the apprenticeship standard is guaranteed to prepare the apprentice for a future in almost any sector, primed with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to succeed.

Throughout the apprenticeship, the apprentice will learn from an expert trainer in the operations/management industry and will be immersed in the real world operations of the employers that hire them. Once they complete their programme, the apprentice will need to undergo TQUK’s rigorous end-point assessment.

The assessment for this apprenticeship will consist of 5 distinct components:

  1. A knowledge test
  2. A structured competency based interview
  3. An assessment of a portfolio of evidence
  4. An assessment of a work based project followed by a presentation with Q&A session
  5. A professional discussion

All these components will be structured to ensure the apprentice has all the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to be successful in their role.

The knowledge test will put the apprentice’s knowledge through the wringer and will take the form of a series of multiple choice questions. The questions will focus on non-organisation specific knowledge that will have been covered during the apprentice’s training.

The competency based interview will follow the knowledge test and will consist of the assessor putting a series of questions to the apprentice in order to test their knowledge in areas that weren’t covered by the test.

After this stage comes the assessment of the apprentice’s portfolio. This portfolio will consist of material gathered throughout their apprenticeship and will demonstrate their quality of work. It will include things like written statements, project plans, reports, observations, performance reviews and peer feedback. All the material included in the portfolio should address the totality of the apprenticeship standard and should demonstrate their understanding and application of management and leadership concepts.

After the portfolio is assessed, the apprentice will do a presentation for the assessor and the employer on a work based project they will have conducted over approximately the last six months of the apprenticeship. The presentation will then be followed by a Q&A session where the assessor and the employer will ask questions in order to clarify any areas that have not been addressed.

Once the programme is completed, the apprentice could choose to stay on with their current employer or choose to pursue other opportunities. Either way, they will have gained essential skills in their area and utilised those skills to further the business of the employer. They will have created someone completely dedicated to their field, expertly trained and able to take on new responsibilities and explore new areas of endeavour.

Interested in this apprenticeship? Visit our End-Point Assessment page for more information on fees and processes. Want to know what other standards TQUK offers assessment for? Check out our Standards page for a full list.

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See you out there!