BMF Trade Supplier Apprenticeship programme

BMF Trade Supplier Apprenticeship programme

The BMF explains how the Trade Supplier Apprenticeship programme has been established to attract new talent into merchanting.

If you are looking to bring new talent into your business, the new Trade Supplier Level 2 Apprenticeship Standard could not have come at a better time.

This is an apprenticeship that has been written by BMF members, in conjunction with members of the Electrical Distributors Association, specifically to meet the needs of our industry. It covers both warehouse and counter training to give apprentices a broader base of skills and knowledge with its main aim is to introduce new recruits to merchanting — however, it is also a valuable resource to upskill existing employees at an early stage of their career.

Trade Supplier is a comprehensive 12-15 month training programme that looks at all operational and departmental areas of the merchant business. It is delivered onsite in the workplace — which ensures appropriate training for individual organisations — and is assessed by a third party ensuring robust quality control.

Richard Ellithorne, Member Services Director of the BMF, says the new apprenticeship standard will help merchants promote the industry amongst a wider range of high calibre candidates. He said: “Historically the merchant industry has lagged behind other industries in promoting career opportunities for new entrants and we are looking to change that. The BMF exhibited at a number of national and regional events this Spring, attended by large numbers of school and college leavers, their careers advisers and their parents.

“We are making it clear that merchanting offers a wide range of careers and the Trade Supplier Apprenticeship is a great stepping stone to learn the business basics which will enable them to progress quickly up their chosen career ladder, whether that is within branch management or in other areas such as finance, HR or health & safety.”

The Trade Supplier Apprenticeship covers:

  • Overview of the builders’ merchant sector and their organisation’s role within it;
  • How goods and services flow between manufacturer/supplier and the merchant’s customer;
  • Recognising the products, services and language used by their customers;
  • Serving customers and understanding their needs;
  • Taking orders and deliveries;
  • Communicating confidently with internal and external customers;
  • Effective listening and identifying specialist customer needs.

The new apprenticeship is available through BMF Apprenticeship Plus, a comprehensive service that can handle everything from the recruitment of apprentices, to contracting with the most appropriate training provider and managing the apprenticeship. Working with BMF Apprenticeship Plus means that your HR resources are not tied up in administration which makes the logistics of the whole process simple. We can even undertake complex levy administration on behalf of larger members or employ apprentices on behalf of non-levy payers.

BMF Apprenticeships Plus Operations Manager, Carmen Daley, who is responsible for recruiting apprentices on the merchants’ behalf has found the new apprenticeship standard generating a lot of new interest. She said: “As well as giving merchants a tool to introduce new talent, we are also finding that Trade Supplier is attracting candidates (and their parents!) who might not previously have considered the industry. The formalisation of an entry level qualification and its assessment by a third party is very appealing to them.”

To find out more about BMF Apprenticeship Plus and the Trade Supplier Apprenticeship Standard, please contact Carmen Daley on 07496 370224 or

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