Learn and earn

22nd April 2017 |   Nick de Cent

Can the forthcoming apprenticeship programme for B2B sales catalyse a new era of professionalism?

Earn and Learn

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.

Founder of the International Journal of Sales Transformation | + posts

Nick de Cent is the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Sales Transformation. A business journalist for over 35 years, he has been covering sales since the mid-1980s and has been a strong advocate of enhancing its professional status. He has freelanced for the Financial Times and edited the Sales Performance supplement in The Times. He also writes and edits extensively on behalf of corporate clients, including a Big 3 management consultancy and a top four global executive search firm.
Contact: editor@journalofsalestransformation.com.