First apprentices qualify for Level 4

27th July 2020 |   Journal Of Sales Transformation

In a major step forward for professional selling, UK professional body the Association of Professional Sales has highlighted the achievements of 15 young salespeople who have become the first to complete a new, nationally recognized apprenticeship in sales.

The pioneering 15 have successfully completed the Level 4 apprenticeship for sales executives. They have been trained by their employers and the Bauer Academy, operating inside Bauer Media, a multinational multimedia conglomerate headquartered in Hamburg. The programme was assessed by the APS, which has led the way in creating the apprenticeship.

Frankie Bannerman, account manager for radio advertising at Bauer Media UK, is one of the first apprentices to qualify. She tells the International Journal of Sales Transformation: “I thoroughly enjoyed taking on the sales executive apprenticeship. My skills and confidence grew enormously in my role as an audio account manager.

“The content of the programme was extremely interesting, covering everything from customer engagement to time management. We all had the chance to develop our skills and build our customer base. I’m really glad I decided to take on the apprenticeship and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a career in sales.”

Rajni Birdi, Senior Tutor at the Bauer Academy adds: “We are delighted to salute the first fully qualified sales apprentices. I know how hard they have worked. To see them develop further, into skilled, knowledgeable salespeople is very gratifying. “Bauer is so pleased to be part of this successful process to develop skills, knowledge and ethical behaviour across the entire sales profession, and we look forward to welcoming more sales apprentices in the near future.”

Quality benchmarks

The Level 4 programme requires aspiring B2B and B2C sales professionals to meet national benchmarks in areas including ethics, customer relations, and the use of digital sales technology. As well as their completed apprenticeship, certified by the government’s Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA), the 15 have also achieved a separate Level 4 sales diploma from the APS, and have the right to call themselves “qualified sales executives”.

Currently, there are nearly 1,000 more sales apprentices taking the Level 4 apprenticeship with many others due to start soon.
Ben Turner, APS chief operating officer, acknowledges the success of the 15 pioneers. “Many congratulations to the hard-working apprentices who have just completed their training.”

He also highlights the implications for the sales profession in general: “This is another big step forward for the standing of the entire sales profession. This initiative promises to make the UK the world leader in developing its salespeople. The injection of professional sales knowledge, skills and behaviours will stand the UK economy in good stead for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Turner explains that apprenticeship programmes offer thousands of sales employees the chance to secure higher-level qualifications while working in fulfilling jobs, without the need to pay fees. For employers, it represents an opportunity to develop a new generation of skilled salespeople who can forge strong and profitable relationships with their customers.

Quick facts

For apprentices and students: Level 4 apprenticeships for sales executives, which received government approval in November 2018, are equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree and are for both B2B and B2C salespeople. They run for up to 18 months.

For employers: Employers are able to claim a maximum of £6,000 for the training costs of each apprentice on this course, drawn from the apprenticeship levy which was set up by the government in April 2017.

Further details on Level 4 apprenticeships for sales executives are available on the Institute for Apprenticeship website:

Details of the Bauer Sales Executive apprenticeship are available here:

Frankie Bannerman: “My skills and confidence grew enormously in my role as an audio account manager.”

Ben Turner: “Another big step forward for the standing of the entire sales profession.”