Marketing industry launches first apprenticeships backed by government

Two marketing apprenticeships have officially been approved by government in what has been described as a “major step” for the industry.


Two marketing apprenticeships, created in collaboration with brands, have been fully approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships, the body tasked by government to ensure standards and advise on funding.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) worked with brands including Clarks, BT and British Airways to develop a set of standards candidates have to meet to complete the apprenticeship, as well as an end-point assessment plan. This has led to the creation of a Level 4 marketing executive programme and a Level 6 marketing manager course.

“There were marketing apprenticeship frameworks prior, but there was no consistency or commonality between them, so it was very difficult for employers to choose,” acknowledges Maggie Jones, director of qualifications and partnerships at the CIM.

“Now there is one standard at each level and it’s been developed with employers, so that gives the clear message that this is what employers want for this role, at this time. It’s removed the inconsistency and confusion.”

In what Jones describes as a “major step forward”, the first cohort of apprentices entered the programmes in January. There are currently 30 apprentices enrolled on the Level 4 marketing executive apprenticeship and more than 15 on the Level 6 marketing manager apprenticeship. An additional 50 apprentice marketing executives and 70 apprentice marketing managers are set to start in the coming months.

While the duration of the apprenticeship depends on the needs of the learner and their organisation, the Level 4 programme will typically last for between 15 and 21 months, while the Level 6 programme runs at 24 to 30 months.

The apprenticeships are being run in conjunction with Registered Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) and the CIM has applied to act as the end-point assessor once the first group of apprentices come to the end of their programmes in 2020.

There were marketing apprenticeship frameworks prior, but there was no consistency or commonality between them, so it was very difficult for employers to choose.

Maggie Jones, CIM

The Level 4 assessment will feature a knowledge-focused multiple-choice test and project based on their organisation. The apprentices will be asked to present that project to their assessor, while the behaviours element of the apprenticeship will be tested through a ‘professional discussion’, ensuring all the knowledge, skills and behaviour are covered.

The Level 6 assessment does not include an online test but the apprentices are assessed via a similar method of professional discussion.

The CIM is also working with brands to develops a Level 3 marketing assistant apprenticeship, which it is hoped will be completed by June.

The timing of the new apprenticeships ties into recent research conducted by the CIM that suggests new routes into marketing are becoming increasingly popular with young people. The analysis of 500 17- to 19-year-olds found 72% of those questioned do not think a degree in marketing is necessary. A further 21% say they would look for a trainee marketing job and 20% would opt for a marketing apprenticeship.

Similar research carried out by Marketing Week last year revealed the industry needs to create more varied routes into marketing to ensure young people consider marketing a viable and interesting career option.

READ MORE: How the marketing industry is coming together to inspire the next generation

Jones believes it is important to have a variety of apprenticeship levels in order to open up opportunities to different groups of people, from 18-year-olds looking for a different route into marketing beyond a university degree, to professionals hoping to move into the industry or enhance their skills.

“It is a misconception that apprenticeships are just for young people. We are taking young people from 18, but for the Level 6 typically the people studying are aged 25 to 30, and we’re also looking at developing a Level 7 apprenticeship for someone senior to a marketing manager, so it is across a range of ages and job roles within an organisation,” Jones explains.

The CIM is keen to review both apprenticeship programmes and find out how the qualification fits with the apprentices’ lives and day-to-day work to ensure the standard is giving people what they want.