Leo Tolstoy, in his novel Anna Karenina, said that, ‘Paperwork is the soul of Russia’. Such a phrase emphasises how important the finer details can be to organisations whether they be small businesses or a country’s government. Increasing efficiencies, eliminating waste, recording the workings of an organisation, coordination of events, updating of policies, making sure the whole apparatus holds together – all these things can consume the hours of individuals or entire departments.

Administrators act as the mainline of data between departments, taking a glut of detail and turning it into easily digestible tables, graphs and reports. They ensure an organisation can conduct its everyday activities with optimum efficiency.

And administrators will be in demand in the UK for years and years to come. Hence the creation of the new Business Administrator Apprenticeship Standard by the government. Thousands of people will need to be trained to fill administration jobs popping up in the next few years.

TQUK has been delving into the apprenticeship standards posted to the government website, and one of the things that distinguishes this standard is how widely applicable the training will be to different sectors. A Business Administrator can fit in almost anywhere. They’re useful in absolutely every industry, from healthcare to engineering, the public and private sectors, and the third sector and beyond. Wherever there are processes that need overseeing, data that needs collecting and projects that need coordinating, administrators will be needed. This position isn’t going away any time soon.

Administrative positions can potentially include a kaleidoscope of different duties folded into them, from working with IT to understanding management principles to communications to record and document production. Many other types of administration duties in the future may require the use of AI, coding and data aggregation. With so much information floating around, it can be hard to make sense of everything. Administrators would help make order out of chaos.

Along with their highly transferrable set of skills they will gain through their training, Business Administrators apprentices are expected to act and behave with efficiency, integrity and bring a positive attitude to every aspect of their role. The role, in all positions, will demand excellent communication skills, proactivity and strong initiative.

There is yet another perk to Business Administrator apprenticeships. For someone who learns to manage data and processes, it is only a short leap to begin on the road to managing people. This role can also easily lead into management positions. Business Administrators are often required at times to undertake project management duties, mentoring, coaching and people/resource management. An apprenticeship in Business Administration will be one of the best places to lay the foundations for future positions in senior management.

A veritable cornucopia of employers were involved in developing this apprenticeship standard, including Boots UK, Capita Group, Serco, Northern Powergrid, PRCA, BT, the Federation of Small Businesses, Peugeot and more. Getting the perspective of a large variety of employers was crucial in developing this apprenticeship. A diversity of input would help ensure that the training provided could be easily applied across all sectors and industries. By bringing the views of all these sectors together, the government was able to identify key principles that existed in all sectors and develop standards and assessment plans that would make sure every new apprentice could occupy a space in any sector.

The assessment plan for this apprenticeship standard is quite involved and rigorous. It consists of:

  • A Knowledge Test (20% of the final grade)
  • A Portfolio-Based Interview (40% of the final grade)
  • A Project Presentation (40% of the final grade)

All three components are designed to test the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours to ensure they are job-ready upon certification.

The Knowledge Test is designed to test the apprentice’s general knowledge of their subject or area, and will take the form of a series of multiple-choice questions, all equally weighted, that will take approximately 60 minutes to complete. The questions will focus on non-organisation specific knowledge which will have been covered during training. The test will ensure the apprentice has all the knowledge they may need to perform their role proficiently.

The Portfolio-Based Interview, by contrast, will be a 30-45 minutes interview that will be assessed by the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) and is designed to test the apprentice’s ability to deliver information in a different medium. The portfolio submitted will provide one piece of content or material to the End-Point Assessor. The interview will assess the apprentice’s understanding of the portfolio material in order to validate the apprentice’s competence, their ability to self-reflect on their performance, and the apprentice’s judgement and understanding by elaborating for the End-Point Assessor where required.

The evidence in the portfolio should contain:

  • A minimum of 8-12 pages of content
  • A summary of the practical observation/evaluation by the employer, such as acknowledgements of skills shown or evidencing work completed

Finally, the Project Presentation will be a presentation that the apprentice will deliver to the End-Point Assessor. The presentation will last 10-15 minutes with a further 10-15 minutes for a question-and-answer session. The project should begin nine months from the beginning of the apprenticeship and should be completed before the End-Point Assessment is triggered. The project should show how they approached their particular task and the skills they showed doing it, ultimately building towards how they would make improvements going forward.

Upon completion of the programme, the apprentice will have a scope to enter sectors of all kinds. Opportunities will be given to the apprentice to join the appropriate professional organisation, should one exist. Training providers that offer training for this apprenticeship will potentially be working with employers in all sectors. It is without a doubt one of the most versatile and wide-ranging apprenticeships among the new standards.

And employers that take on Business Administrator apprentices will, by the end of the programme, have someone completely dedicated to their field, expertly trained and able to respond to any situation, change and problem with resourcefulness and confidence.

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