Learn and earn
22nd April 2017 | Nick de Cent
Can the forthcoming apprenticeship programme for B2B sales catalyse a new era of professionalism?
If anything underlines why we so desperately need the new Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship, it is the sustained effort a dedicated group of sales leaders and educationalists have had to put into educating government about business-to-business sales as a career and to convince the “powers that be” about its credentials as a profession. At an early stage during the yearlong process to gain approval for the standards underpinning the new apprenticeship programme there were questions from government about the level of the qualification and whether there was an overlap with a Level 2 trade counter sales role.
“I think they just didn’t understand sales,” one source close to the process tells the Journal. “I think at the back of their mind they were unconvinced that there was a need for a sales degree.”
All that quickly changed with positive dialogue between government and business, and the partnership between the Department for Education and the Trailblazer Group – made up of industry representatives, academics and training providers, with support and sponsorship from the Association of Professional Sales – has been fruitful.
The initiative has progressed rapidly from conception in April 2016 to approval of the standards in May 2017, despite interruptions for the Brexit referendum and a subsequent ministerial reshuffle. The next stage involves approval of the assessment plan for the programme – consultation closed on 5 May – with the ultimate aim of employers being able to welcome their first intake of B2B Sales Apprentices in October this year.