Back in business: Employers renew case for level 2 business admin

Employers threaten to launch petition if officials continue to reject apprenticeship proposal

Employers threaten to launch petition if officials continue to reject apprenticeship proposal

Employers are making another attempt to get a level 2 business administration apprenticeship over the line, with plans to launch a government petition if officials continue to reject the proposal.

A trailblazer group held a meeting with around 100 employers last week to sound out support for the bid ahead of a formal submission in September.

A survey has also been launched to ask more businesses to back the proposal, working with the provisional title of level 2 “administration assistant”, to “demonstrate current business need” to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE).

The institute has batted away proposals for such a course since the popular level 2 business admin apprenticeship under the old-style frameworks was officially switched off on July 31, 2020. Officials claimed that a proposed replacement did not meet the required duration or quality of the new-style apprenticeship standards.

An alternative “public sector organisation administrative assistant” standard at level 2 was put forward months later but was dropped last year after Rob Nitsch, IfATE’s delivery director, said it was “some distance off” the quality threshold.

The survey for the latest proposal, which will be for both public and private sector employers, states that, if the institute “continues to deny the need for a level 2 administration standard, it has been suggested that our next step could be to launch a petition to get a formal response from government.

“We would create a petition that asks for a change to government policy. After 10,000 signatures, petitions get a response from the government and, after 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament.”

A spokesperson for IfATE said: “‘Where employers have come forward, we have continued to work with them, and this includes with regard to business administration. We continue to remain open to new standards and the adjustment of all where they satisfy the necessary criteria.”

There is a level 3 business administrator standard available, which has attracted over 55,000 starts since its launch in 2017. The standard is currently being revised, including its content, end-point assessment plan and £5,000 funding band.

But employers such as the NHS, councils, supermarkets and police have warned that level 3 is not the right entry point for many business admin apprentices, and the absence of a level 2 equivalent is the “missing rung” of skills minister Robert Halfon’s supposed “ladder of opportunity”.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency previously highlighted the level 2 customer service practitioner standard as a potential replacement for the level 2 business admin framework, but admitted this would not fit all apprentices’ needs.

The level 2 business admin apprenticeship trailblazer group was not able to comment.

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