BMF Training Zone: Incentivised apprenticeships

BMF Training Zone: Incentivised apprenticeships

It may have gone under the radar, but a ‘cash back’ support package for apprenticeships has helped to zero the cost of the BMF Diploma in Merchant Management.

Everyone loves a bargain, whether it’s money off or any other incentive to buy. Over the summer, for example, you probably enjoyed the Chancellor’s largesse at a local restaurant by taking advantage of his Eat Out to Help Out plan offering a £10 per head discount. But did you know that the Chancellor is also providing cash incentives to help companies train and develop their workforce?

While it didn’t grab as many headlines as the £500m meal deal, the Chancellor’s support for apprenticeships in his Summer Statement will have a far longer-lasting effect — and every merchant investing in the apprenticeship study route to develop new talent within their business can benefit.

Any company recruiting an apprentice aged 16-24 will receive a £3,000 incentive, with a £1,500 payment for those employing an apprentice aged 25 and over. Currently the scheme is set to run from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021 and applies to apprenticeships at every level.

This is particularly relevant as a recent change means that the highly popular and well-regarded BMF Diploma in Merchant Management has been incorporated within a new Level 5 Management Apprenticeship and is now available via the apprenticeship route in England.

In addition to the Chancellor’s latest recruitment incentive, this means the course fees for the industry’s most successful management training programme can now be funded from Apprenticeship funds. To clarify, for larger merchants, the full cost of the Diploma course can be covered by their apprenticeship levy. Smaller merchants who are not levy payers will receive Government funds to cover 95% of the cost.

Could this be the training and development bargain of all time?

The Diploma programme remains rooted in merchant operations, but those successfully completing the apprenticeship will achieve a nationally recognised qualification acknowledged across all sectors. The Level 5 Management Apprenticeship covers everything from financial management and project control through to operations and leadership.

The Apprenticeship is delivered over 18 months using a blended learning approach including nine workshops, five masterclasses, online self-study and quarterly one-to-one coaching to contextualise the students learning and help them prepare for the final assessment.

Initial workshops will help learners with personal organisation, such as workload planning, time management, motivational techniques and effective communication. Moving on, leadership is covered in detail with sessions on leadership styles and behaviours, building relationships, collaborative working, problem solving, decision making and coaching models.

Other sessions focus on finance, budgets, strategic thinking, project management, motivating the team and improving performance as well as practical sessions on managing stock and marketing.

Supported by the BMF and our training partners, Total Training Solutions and the Remit Group (who are recognised as by Ofsted as Outstanding for leadership and management), BMF Level 5 Management apprentices will build a portfolio of evidence to show how they have applied their learning throughout the programme and undertake a final work-based project focusing on a business improvement.

The programme concludes with an interactive end point assessment carried out by an independent assessor.

Of course, employers recruiting apprentices for entry level positions can also take advantage of the latest financial incentives. But it is important to recognise that Apprenticeships are now designed to support life-long learning within our industry, providing opportunities for employers to attract, retain and upskill their most valuable resource throughout their careers.

For more information about the BMF Level 5 Management Apprenticeship and other apprenticeship solutions, contact Carmen Daley on 07496 370 224 or email

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