The level 2 Business Administration Framework is due to be “switched off” on 31 July 2020. From 1 August 2020, this Framework will no longer be available for employers to use.

A level 3 Business Administration Standard was developed and approved for delivery in 2017.

In 2018, a Trailblazer group formed to develop a level 2 Business Support Assistant Standard. The group were of the view that a level 2 Apprenticeship Standard was required to meet social mobility responsibilities supports more young people into sustainable employment and that this was a distinct occupation from the existing level 3 Business Administration (Level 3).

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) worked with the Trailblazer group for 10 months to develop their occupation proposal.


On 15 May 2019, the Business Support Trailblazer group submitted an occupation proposal to develop a level 2 Business Support Assistant Standard. The Institute invited public comment at this stage of the submission process. These comments are part of a broader suite of evidence that the Route Panel considers before making a recommendation to the Institute’s Board on whether to approve an occupation as the basis for developing an Apprenticeship Standard.

The online consultation was open for 10 days. It asked for contributors to give their views on the occupation proposal regarding:

  • Whether there is support for the development of the proposed Apprenticeship Standard for this occupation; and
  • Whether the training in the knowledge, skills and behaviours in the proposed occupation would typically take at least 12 months. This is a minimum requirement for any high-quality apprenticeship.

Consultation – Summary of Respondent Type

The consultation for the level 2 Business Support Assistant occupation proposal attracted 225 responses from the following groups:

  • Training Providers – 120. Of these, 52% of providers stated that they would deliver a level 2 Business Support Assistant standard.
  • Employers – 96. Of these, 45% of the employers stated that they would have starts on a level 2 Business Support Assistant standard.
  • Charity/ Social Enterprise – 5.
  • Assessment Organisations – 2.
  • Public Sector – 2.

None of the charity/ social enterprise, assessment or public sector respondents indicated that they would consider starts on a level 2 Business Support Assistant Standard.

Consultation – Summary of Responses by Question

Support for the Standard: 95% of respondents supported the development of a level 2 Business Support Assistant Apprenticeship Standard, with a further 4% indicating partial support. 1% of respondents indicated they could not support the development of the Standard.

Projected starts: When the occupation proposal was submitted the number of projected starts was estimated to be 5,000. Respondents to the consultation have reported that they would take on 1,233 apprentices.  20% of the total respondents confirmed that they would have starts on the Standard and just over 1% stated they would not have starts on the Standard. 

Skilled and duration: 95% of respondents agreed that the occupation is skilled and requires 12 months off the job training. Of these, 27% felt that the duration of the apprenticeship should be increased.

Awareness of other existing or proposed Apprenticeship Standards: 90% of respondents highlighted there is some cross over between the L2 Business Support Assistant and other Standards such as Customer Service and Business Administrator. 8% were not aware of other Standards available to them, with 10% indicating partial awareness of alternatives.

Transferability of skills: 94% of respondents’ comments support the view that the proposed occupation is sufficiently wide-ranging to allow an apprentice to develop transferable skills that will enable them to perform this role across the wider sector.

Institute Response

In June 2019 the Route Panel and Institute Board met to discuss the occupation proposal’s suitability against the quality criteria for an apprenticeship. They noted the support for the Standard from the public consultation, particularly from training providers, which was considered alongside other evidence.

Both the Route Panel and the Board determined that the occupation proposal did not meet the minimum criteria for an apprenticeship, was not a stand-alone occupation or skilled enough to warrant 12 months training with 20% off the job. The minutes from the June Approval and Funding Committee (the relevant subcommittee of the Board) meeting are available through the link.

Next Steps

Although the occupation proposal does not meet the requirements for an apprenticeship, it is recognised that there is a need for a high-quality training and support offered for those individuals who may not be ready to start on the level 3 Standard.  The Institute and Department for Education have offered support to the Trailblazer group to explore other potential options.  This includes:

  • Exploring the type of pre-employment programme that is required, including the potential future role programmes such as traineeships could play in supporting young people to access the level 3 Standard; and
  • Considering which level 2 and level 3 Standards available for use could be relevant to those who might previously have been recruited onto the level 2 Business Administration framework.