Advance your knowledge.

News, blogs and thoughts from our hub. Enhancing performance starts with knowledge. So, why not read through our latest news and blog pieces? From how to secure and develop the best talent, to tips on team motivation and leadership, to the future skills you should seek out for your business, you’ll find it all here.

BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Are you Prioritising your Mental Health?

Mental health is a crucial part of our overall wellbeing, and Mental Health Awareness Month is a great reminder that there are many things we can do to promote positive mental health and take care of our psychological wellbeing.

Mental health is a crucial part of our overall wellbeing, yet it's often overlooked or stigmitised in society. It encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing, influencing how we think, feel, and behave in daily life.

Despite its significance, mental health problems are still prevalent globally - approximately 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives.

Genetics, environment, life experiences, and brain chemistry all play a role in determining our mental health, but Mental Health Awareness Month is a great reminder that there are many things we can do to promote positive mental health and take care of our psychological wellbeing.

Tips for Managing Mental Health:

1. Stay active:

Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, it also plays a significant role in improving mood and reducing stress. Over 75% of UK adults say that exercise has a positive impact on their mental health. So, whether it's going for a walk, cycling, or swimming, find activities that you enjoy and incorporate them into your routine.

2. Prioritise self-care:

Self-care is not selfish - it's essential for maintaining positive mental and emotional health. Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it's reading a book, practicing yoga, seeing friends and family, or engaging in hobbies - do something that prioritises you.

3. Stay connected:

Social connections are vital for mental health. Build a strong support network and nurture meaningful relationships with friends, family, and supportive people who uplift and encourage you.

4. Practice mindfulness and stress management techniques:

Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other stress management techniques can help reduce anxiety, calm the mind and increase self-awareness. Including these practices in your daily routine can improve your mental wellbeing.

5. Set realistic goals and boundaries:

Setting achievable goals and boundaries can help reduce feeling of overwhelm and improve your sense of control. Break tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and prioritise what is most important to you. Establishing boundaries and saying no when necessary is also crucial in preserving your mental energy and wellbeing.


Understanding mental health and learning how to manage it effectively is essential for overall wellbeing. Remember, it is okay to ask for help and take care of your mental wellbeing just as you would your physical health.

Don't hesitate to reach out for professional help if you're struggling with your mental health. There are numerous avenues for support, including therapists, counsellors, other mental health professionals and online resources.

  • Talk to The Samaritans for free emotional support 24 hours a day - 116 123
  • Text SHOUT to 85258 for free, confidential support day or night
  • Visit mind for more information on types of mental health problems, where you can get help and types of treatments -
  • Talk to CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) on 0800 58 58 58 or via their webchat here
  • Contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 for confidential advice and support - 0800 068 41 41

Find out what safeguarding looks like in your organisation - do you have a Designated Safeguarding Lead? Does your organisation have a safeguarding policy?

Feel free to reach out to your Development Coach or a member of our safeguarding team for more information or support.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Everything You Need to Know About Functional Skills

Let's dive into understanding who needs to do it? What are the benefits? How can you support an apprentice doing their Functional Skills? And where will you use it?

What is Functional Skills?

By the end of an apprenticeship programme, all apprentices must achieve qualifications in English and maths, known as Functional Skills.

Functional Skills enable apprentices to learn essential literacy and numeracy skills that they will apply to everyday life, supporting personal and professional development.

Who needs to do Functional Skills?

English and maths Functional Skills at Level 2 are equivalent to a GCSE grade 4 (grade C on the old grading system).

For all apprentices a Level 2 Functional Skill or equivalent GVSE is a mandatory requirement to pass through the apprenticeship gateway and take the end point assessment (EPA).

But, don't worry if you don't have these! We have a dedicated Functional Skills Tutor that will support you in achieving your qualifications alongside your apprenticeship, by working with you and your Development Coach.

Benefits of Functional Skills

  • Increased financial awareness
  • Better communication skills
  • Increased confidence
  • Career progression
  • Increased problem-solving skills
  • Enhance employability
  • Adaptability
  • Develop skills for everyday life

How to support your apprentice doing Functional Skills

  • Give your apprentice the opportunity to practice and apply the skills
  • Allow your apprentice dedicated time to complete their studying
  • Be flexible when your apprentice need to book assessments
  • Be actively involved in your apprentices development journey and encourage them with their learning to support their success.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out more.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





The Apprenticeship Levy Explained

The Apprenticeship Levy has proven to be extremely beneficial to businesses and organisations across England, with over 750,000 people currently on a development programme.

The Apprenticeship Levy is a government led scheme, launched in 2017, designed to increase the number of apprenticeship programmes throughout the UK. It is tax paid by employers (those with a payroll over £3million per annum) which is then held in an account that can only be used to fund apprenticeship training costs.

So how does the Apprenticeship Levy work?

  • No matter the sector / industry, all employers with a payroll of over £3 million per annum, (approx. 2% of UK business), are require to pay the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • These businesses are required to pay 0.5% of their payroll into the fund.
  • Once a business has started to pay towards the levy, it will gain access to the Digital Apprenticeship Service account (DAS); an online portal where funds can be used for the delivery of apprenticeship programmes, with your chosen training provider.
  • SMEs and large organisations alike, can take advantage of the levy by working with training providers, like BMS Progress, to create sustainable apprenticeship programmes.
  • Non-levy paying businesses benefit from a co-investment model. They will need to contribute 5% towards the cost of the apprenticeship programme, the government will fund the remaining 95%.

BMS Progress provide world-class training and apprenticeships. We've helped many well-known B2B organisations in the UK ensure everyone is able to take control of their continuous professional development. Whether you're a levy paying employer or a small business exploring your options, we will work with you to understand the Apprenticeship Levy funding and how we can maximise your return on investment.

Who can use the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy can only be used with in England, this is because the apprenticeship legislation differs across nations. This means that levy funded apprenticeships must work at least 50% of their time within in England. The amount of levy you can access is linked to the proportion of time your employee lives in England.

Can the Apprenticeship Levy be used to train existing staff?

It is a common misconception that apprenticeships are only available for school leavers or manual industries, but this is not true!

Apprenticeships in the UK are awarded at Levels 1 (GCSE equivalent) through to Level 8 (Masters equivalent), meaning that apprenticeships can act as a clear roadmap for personal development and career progression.

Apprenticeships are a fantastic tool to help close skill gaps within your team, as well as increasing retention rate and productivity.

Apprenticeship Levy Funding Rules

There are a few thing you need to bare in min when using the Apprenticeship Levy to make sure you are compliant. The being said, as your apprenticeship provider, BMS Progress will ensure you are following all rules throughout the length of your learner's programme:

  • Apprenticeship Levy funds can only be spend on apprenticeship programmes or the End-point Assessment.
  • Levy funds cannot be spent on wages or non-apprenticeship training.
  • Your levy funds will expire after 24 months after the date submitted, at which point they will default back to the government if not accessed. This is to incentivise regular investment in high-quality apprenticeship training.

At BMS Progress, we appreciate that the Apprenticeship Levy can be a little complex to navigate, and so we will work closely with you at every step to understand your business needs, exploring funding rules, identify relevant programmes, and ultimately help you to maximise your levy funds.

Have more questions? Get in touch with one of our experts today.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Why Should you Invest in Continued Professional Development?

Continued Professional Development (CPD) is crucial to navigating the demands of today's workplace. With markets constantly evolving, new technology, and changes in ways of working, staying ahead of the curve is essential. Explore why continuing professional development is a must for both you and employers.

Why should you invest in continued professional development?

Continued Professional Development (CPD) is crucial to navigating the demands of today's workplace. With markets constantly evolving, new technology, and changes in ways of working, staying ahead of the curve is essential. We often hear that CPD is not a priority, (or even on the to-do list at all), so we want to break down why continuing professional development is a must for both you and employers.  

Whatever your level of experience, CPD is a tool that can open new opportunities, boost skills, and drive success. And whilst you might not have thought about investing in CPD in the past, it’s quickly becoming a more desirable approach to elevate careers – and business growth.  

Employers, this applies to you too. CPD is pivotal in contributing to the overall growth and success of your business, a worthy investment if you want to attract and retain motivated, productive, and loyal talent.  

5 benefits for the employee:

Elevate your skills and capabilities

CPD is your golden ticket to elevating your skills and capabilities. It allows you to stay ahead of the game and increase overall performance. You'll be equipped with the latest industry knowledge, best practices, and key fundamentals that will allow you to overcome day-to-day challenges and take on new responsibilities.  

Career progression

CPD helps you take those crucial steps forward to progressing your career. It keeps your skills and knowledge up to date, helps you become more creative when faced with challenges, demonstrates your commitment to your work, and enables you to make better more informed decisions - all of which are hugely attractive to your employer.

Increased job satisfaction  

They say 'love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life'. And what better way than investing in your development? CPD provides so many benefits, not just professionally but personally too. With an increased skill set you'll be more engaged, motivated, knowledgeable, and ultimately, happier in your work.  

Increased confidence  

There is no growth in the comfort zone! By enhancing your expertise through CPD and adopting a growth mindset, you'll start to see a direct correlation with the increase in self-confidence. A trait that is so important to adopt in the workplace - the more your confidence grows, the more adaptable, credible, and resilient you will become.

Be one step ahead of your competition  

Industries and markets constantly evolve, and keeping up is essential to remaining competitive. CPD ensures you stay one step ahead and helps you to remain adaptable in competitive environments - particularly important for a sales professional.  

5 benefits for employers:  

Close the skill gap  

The practical approach to training programmes, be it apprenticeship or commercial, allows you to upskill and reskill employees in a much shorter space of time. Meaning that you can close any skills gaps quicker and futureproof your talent pipeline. When you support CPD initiatives, you give your team the tools they need to succeed. They'll be up to date with the latest industry trends, technologies, and best practices, leading to improved performance and increased productivity. The result? Higher quality outputs and improved profitability, ultimately driving business growth!  

Attract and retain your talent  

Employee engagement is known to soar when they believe you're equally invested in their growth. They’re also more likely to stay long-term. The structured approach to apprenticeship and training programmes is designed to keep employees engaged in learning and development, helping to reduce turnover. Investing in your employees gives them a sense of commitment and loyalty to you, and they start to see their job as much more than a paycheck.  

Innovation and adaptability  

CPD helps you to future-proof your business. It sparks innovation and creativity, fresh ideas, and out-of-the-box thinking – this helps your businesses adapt to industry shifts and prepares you for new challenges and opportunities.  

Gain a competitive edge  

CPD isn't just a trend; it's a competitive advantage. Employers that prioritise CPD are often thought of as forward-thinking and innovative. Investing in skilled and knowledgeable employees contributes to the overall success of your company's performance allowing you to stay competitive and position yourself as market experts.  


Embracing CPD is a crucial investment for both employees and employers. It empowers individuals to grow, learn, and thrive in their careers, while also giving businesses a competitive advantage. So, if you’re looking to improve your performance and progress careers, you must make CPD a priority.  


Discover BMS Progress training

Ready to invest in your or your employee' professional development? Curious about our programmes? Contact our friendly team today.


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How To Get a Distinction

As we head into 2024, it is super important to be setting out your goals for the year, be it personal or professional. And we wanted to give you a helping hand with at least one of them! A question our Development Coaches are frequently asked is 'what can I do to achieve a distinction', so we thought we'd tackle this for you, after all knowledge is power

A huge welcome back after the year end break, and a Happy New Year from the BMS Progress team!

As we head into 2024, it's super important to be setting out your goals for the year, be it personal or professional. And we wanted to give you a helping hand with at least one of them! 

A question our Development Coaches frequently get is 'what can I do to achieve a distinction'. So, let's tackle it!

Our expert development coaches have shared their top 5 tips for achieving a distinction:

  • Be prepared to try new methods. You won't know if they're effective unless you give them a try, if they don't work then ask yourself why and build on that process. There are no failures only learnings!
  • Have a growth mindset. Distinction candidates avoid the 'this is how it's always been done' mindset and focus on trying to develop new ways of doing things.
  • Identify opportunities that you feel can be improved, whether this is the sales process, CRM, customer interactions or meetings. By evaluating your role and self-assessing you will identify areas for improvement that you can focus on.
  • The golden rule is that, for a pass you need to focus on your own self-development and for a distinction focus on what the business now does better as a result of your learning and influence.
  • Read the criteria and action it! Most common action to take in sales is improving the business through making recommendations about their processes or approaches. Most important action to consider with team leader is evaluating theories and adapting them to the business needs.

And of course, we are all about celebrating the small wins too. So, if you're simply struggling to find your groove and get back into routine for the new year, we have some super easy ticks to get you back on track:

  • Reflect on your achievements.
  • Set realistic goals. Break them down into smaller more manageable tasks, make them SMART and own them.
  • Create a routine. Include both work and leisure activities. This will help to bring structure to your days.
  • Stay active. Physical activity is proven to boost mood and energy levels. Even a short daily walk could make significant difference.
  • And for those of you who are either kickstarting your training or picking up where you left off with us, check in with your coach. Your individual Development Coach is there to support you!

We know the new year can be daunting, so remember, even if you only find a way to action one of these points, you're onto a winner! Let's make 2024 another great year for success and growth - we have a sneaky feeling this year is going to be a good one.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Strategies to Overcome 'Time' as a Barrier to Professional Development

We all know professional development is not easy to prioritise, and we always find reasons to either put it off until the last minute or just not invest in it at all. But, good professional development comes from pre-empting those challenges you could face, and being prepared for them, so that you can overcome them. 58% of you said ‘time’ was your main constraint – we are going to explore why ‘time’ doesn’t need to be a barrier

What is Professional Development?

Professional development refers to the process of continuous learning and acquiring knowledge, skills and experiences that are relevant to your career. It is an ongoing effort to enhance your professional competence and keep up to date with latest trends, technologies and best practices.

It can take many different forms; formal training programmes, workshops, coaching, and mentoring, to name a few. The aim is to build on your existing skills and knowledge, whilst acquiring new ones to remain competitive.

Benefits of Professional Development

Whether you’re earning a qualification, certification or attending a workshop or conference to stay updated on current trends within your field, continual learning will always be critical for you and your organisation. For example, industry newbies will benefit from exposure to new concepts, ideas and perspectives while gaining expertise, often leading to increased motivation, confidence and credibility with in the space, and ultimately enhance your job performance. Professional development is also important for personal growth and fulfilment – it can help you to achieve career goals and increased earning potential. It can also help you find more purpose and meaning in your work, resulting in greater job satisfaction and happiness.

Employers can also reap the rewards of educating their employees. Investing in your employees professional development leads to increased employee engagement, and job satisfaction, resulting in higher employee loyalty, and thus retention rates. Employers that offer professional development also tend to attract more sought after candidates. Professional development promotes employee growth within organisations, allowing you, as a company, to scale successfully and remain competitive.

Barriers to Professional Development

We all know professional development is not easy to prioritise, and we always find reasons to either put it off until the last minute or just not invest in it at all. But, good professional development comes from pre-empting those challenges you could face, and being prepared for them, so that you can overcome them.

We put out a LinkedIn survey to understand what the main barrier is for people when it comes to professional development, and 58% of you said ‘time’ was your main constraint – we are going to explore why ‘time’ doesn’t need to be a barrier.  

Strategies for Overcoming ‘Time’ as a Barrier to Professional Development

Time Management

We all know lack of time at one point or another, with the go to solution to be to cram as much as possible – creating an unnecessary stressful environment for yourself. This doesn’t need to be the case. Adopting time management techniques can help you to organise your time, and essentially project manage. Taking an hour to plan out how you are going to complete your training programme will optimise your time and save a lot of stress and worry that comes with cramming everything in in the last few days.

There are so many time management techniques you can use, BMS Progress recommend; Eating your Frog, Eisenhower Matrix, Pomodoro Technique, and Time Blocking – remember to pick one that best suits how you learn, whether it’s bitesize chunks or longer, more structured ways, working out what time you can regularly devote means you’re more likely to stick to it.


In hand with time management, comes planning. When thinking about completing a training programme, or when you know you have a more chunkier piece of work with a deadline coming up, plan ahead. Put deadlines in your diaries and work towards them, this will allow you to factor in everything else around it, ensuring you don’t fall behind on projects and are not distracted during the training. Ensuring structure in your learning by scheduling time and pre-planning helps you to be more disciplined.


Talk to your manager. Having clear and open communication with your line manager on projects, goals and time scales can help to manage expectations and give a level of understanding for both parties on capacity - this will better help you to fit the needs of your training around your day-to-day.


Give yourself clear directions – without this, motivation will keep declining over time. Finding a course that is enjoyable and sparks your interest is a good place to start, then begin looking for a course that can address a weakness. There are so many opportunities to unlock when investing in your professional development, rather than looking at it as a mission, break it down in to smaller chunks.


At the end of the day, professional development is an investment in you, and why wouldn’t you want to invest in you? Investing time in professional development to make you better in your role, bridges the gap from where you are now to where you want to be.

Remember, break it down. Identify the barrier(s) –be it time or anything else you may struggle with when engaging with professional development - evaluate them, and implement strategies to overcome them. This is the first step to ensure your success. It is crucial for individuals seeking to advance in their careers, gain new skills and remain competitive in their field, to priorities professional development.

Discover BMS Progress training

Ready to invest in yours or your employees professional development? Curious about our programmes? Contact our friendly team today.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Neurodiversity: How Does BMS Progress Support Those With Additional Learning Needs?

It’s estimated that over 15% of the UK population is neurodiverse – and that statistic is growing all the time. Recently, we held sessions with our coaches to ensure they can enable those with additional learning needs to achieve their best. Our Head of Quality and Curriculum & Designated Safeguarding Lead, Katie Rooney, explains what that entails.

Hold more contact sessions

Everyone is different. What works for one person, might not work for the next. Our coaches get to know the learner, and explore their preferred style. They usually hold more frequent sessions to make sure we’re meeting their needs. If a task is quite broad, they will break it down into three or four smaller tasks instead.

There may also be a need for closer contact if the learner falls behind in the programme, though this isn’t specific to those with additional learning requirements. It’s usually a case of work ethic, so we determine their own internal drivers and the reason for their lack of progress. From here, we inform their line manager, and create a development plan to get them back on track.

Sometimes, this can highlight additional factors that are causing them to stall their progress – maybe they’re struggling to understand a question? Or perhaps they’re better at verbal communication than written? A delay in progress can even trigger the realisation of other learning needs – for the coach and the learner.

Reassure the learner

Neurodiversity still carries a stigma. We endeavour to promote opportunities for learners to share it before they start the programme – whether that is through a 1-2-1 session or disclosing it on our apprenticeship portal. Occasionally, the learner may not want their employer to know this information, so we diligently protect the anonymity of their needs.

Once we’re aware of their requirements, we reassure the individual/s that we have strategies in place to modify the programme to suit them. This means they can still learn at the same rate as everyone else. There’s a lot of talk about equality, but people don’t start from the same place, so not everything is an equal opportunity. Instead, we talk about equity.

Identify those with additional learning needs

Whilst we don’t diagnose people, we can spot specific traits in someone who has additional learning needs. This may lead us to work with their employer, and arrange a full assessment for a formal diagnosis. We make a point not to talk about additional learning requirements negatively, instead communicating the strengths – for example, plenty of people with neurodiversity are also top salespeople.

Not offending the learner is key. Neurodiversity is a very sensitive subject that people might not respond to or want to celebrate. Some may feel inadequate. But for others, it’s eye opening, and allows them to understand why they think differently to colleagues or peers. This can be a real turning point for them both personally and professionally.

Modify delivery

Our team ensures all individuals have the same opportunity to learn and develop, whatever their needs. We know that 5,000-word essays or all-day group sessions don’t suit everyone, so we modify the programme where possible to fit each learner. We can also apply changes to the awarding body, who do the final assessment, to make sure a learner’s needs are considered. Perhaps in the case of a long written piece, they can perform the same assessment in a different format, like video.

Learning materials can also be altered, such as being made more visual. Others might benefit from receiving them before the workshops. We recently switched to online workbooks – this can be advantageous for many, but not everyone. Therefore, we post them out to those that require them.

We encourage learners to find what works for them through technology, too, like using the dictation tool in Microsoft Word. Plus, there’s a government initiative to support those with additional learning needs through specially designed technology.

Discover BMS Progress training

If you would like to find out more about how we support neurodiverse learners, or you’re curious about our programmes, contact our friendly team today.


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What To Look For In A Training Provider?

Choosing a training provider is a fundamental step in building your L&D strategy. Staff development is absolutely crucial, and should be ongoing, so you need to ensure your training provider can meet your needs on a regular basis, and over a sustained period of time.

1. Scaling

A training provider should be able to move as you do. If you’re scaling up, their resources need to do the same, whether that’s through the team that support your business, the trainers/facilitators who deliver the sessions, or the technology they use.

On a similar note, you should seek assurance about what will happen if the training provider experiences rapid growth themselves. You need to ensure that you’ll always be an important client to them, and that they don’t spread themselves too thinly among too many clients. Otherwise, the relationship may be impacted and you might have to look elsewhere, which is far from ideal after spending all the time and effort building up a relationship with them.

2. Level of service

The training provider needs to deliver a fantastic level of service, and this should be sustained year after year. There are numerous areas that impact quality including:

Fantastic communication
Programme innovation
Being reactive – and proactive – to needs
Personable team members
Credible and experienced facilitators
Great understanding of your business
Honesty and transparency

We recommend asking your potential training provider about what an amazing level of service means to them, and make sure it matches with what you require.

3. Value alignment

When a training provider’s values are in sync with yours, there’s a higher chance of a fruitful relationship, and more beneficial results. In fact, we’ve found that the more our values align with our clients, the better – it even helped us win Salesforce for the Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship. Our values are key to us:

Be amazing
Be expert
Be fearless
Be authentic
Be fair
Be the team

4. A specialist provision

The training provider should be able to meet your precise needs but should not try to deliver all types of training, to all departments and people, specialism is key.

We also recommend that you ensure the training is bespoke. To us, this makes a great offer. The training will be shaped around your business, your values, and your vision. It will consider the needs and aspirations of the team members, making it more likely that it will achieve your desired goals.

Consider training and apprenticeships with BMS Progress

At BMS Progress, we tailor our training to each business and individual, so you get more value from it. For us, it’s all about improving performance and progressing careers.

We have a range of training courses and apprenticeship programmes. For instance, our Level 3 Team Leader programme is for managers seeking to engage and inspire their teams to take the organisation to the next level. To find out more about this apprenticeship, or any of our available training, get in touch with our friendly team.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





How To Continuously Upskill Your Leadership Team Through Apprenticeships

We’ve spoken a lot about the importance of upskilling and reskilling, especially in the current climate. But it really isn’t a one-time thing. You must continuously invest in your

In this blog, we’ll discuss whether apprenticeships can help you continuously upskill your leadership team.

The different levels

Apprenticeships have a variety of levels – from Level 2 all the way to Level 7. Their rankings are as follows:

Level 2 – Intermediate
Level 3 – Advanced
Level 4 – Certificate of Higher Education
Level 5 – Higher National Diploma (HND)
Level 6 – Degree
Level 7 – Masters

With Level 2 apprenticeships, there are usually no eligibility requirements. As for the other levels, applicants generally need to meet some sort of criteria. However, it’s not necessary to have completed lower-level apprenticeships to enrol on later courses – though this may come in handy.

For instance, at BMS Progress, we have two types of apprenticeships related specifically to leadership: the Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship and the Level 5 Leadership Apprenticeship. While you don’t have to, some apprentices choose to enrol on both programmes subsequently to put themselves in the best positions to upskill and progress their careers.

Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship

Aimed at first-line management, this apprenticeship imparts fundamental skills and theories on managing and leading teams. The course boosts apprentices’ confidence, enabling them to progress in their role and the organisation and develop their career path. What’s more, it offers a dedicated environment for apprentices to put their know-how, skills, and behaviours into practice.

They’ll learn key topics to help them in their jobs, including:

• Effective time management tools and techniques
• The difference between leadership and management
• Leadership styles and coaching techniques
• Managing resources, identifying risks, and handling project issues
• Communication types and application
• How to provide and receive feedback
• Ensuring the team implements and maintains standards

Level 5 Leadership Apprenticeship

The Level 5 Leadership Apprenticeship has been designed for senior or second-line managers who wish to progress into higher leadership roles. It builds upon the modules in the Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship, delivering much deeper education and detail. As a result, learners are able to apply the methodology and action innovative processes and thinking.

The programme includes:

• How to improve emotional intelligence
• Developing and managing impact as a leader
• Using appropriate communication styles
• Leading and influencing people to be high-performing
• Considering operational policy and compliance
• Monitoring budgets to ensure efficiencies and cost control


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





The 5 Apprenticeship Trends We Anticipate For 2023.

Given the current economic challenges, apprenticeships are more important than ever. This means the outlook is somewhat different in 2023. As organisations realise their value and

1. Non-negotiable quality

Now that businesses recognise the importance of training programmes and apprenticeships to upskill, there’s a stronger focus on high-quality training. Organisations won’t settle for second best. Instead, 2023 will see them seek recognised apprenticeship providers, like Ofsted regulated companies or those listed on the register of apprenticeship training providers.

High-quality training and value for money are especially urgent as organisations aim to maximise their Apprenticeship Levy pot. Likewise, we predict there will be a more rigorous government assessment and certification process. If an apprenticeship provider isn’t up to scratch, they won’t get a look in.

2. A full support network

We expect that employers will start to get involved to reap the full rewards of apprenticeships. A full support network in place – through the employer, apprentice line manager, and apprentice provider – will underline the success of each training programme.

At BMS Progress, we assign every learner with a dedicated development coach to support and enable them to do their very best. Every trainee will work in tandem with a line manager, BMS Performance facilitator, internal quality assurer, and designated safeguarding leader – we support them every step of the way.

3. Upskilling rather than recruiting

Skills gaps are prevalent in every industry. And as rising costs mean businesses are pressing pause on recruiting new members, the spotlight is now on upskilling existing staff.

Training and apprenticeships ensure current employees have the right skills for the future, improving motivation and overall staff morale – while allowing cost-effective business growth.

4. A focus on sales

Sales has long been an unrecognised area for training. But the growing appreciation for lifelong learning and the current economic hardships are finally shining a light on the benefits of sales training.

It’s natural for consumers to spend more cautiously during a recession. This means sales teams need to work harder than ever. Businesses must equip their workers with the relevant skills, like negotiation, to help potential customers navigate concerns and beat competitors to secure the win. And so, this year should see more businesses seeking out sales apprenticeships.

5. Move towards leadership

Leaders who tackle uncertainty and guide their teams through hardships are highly valued at the moment. Strong resilience, communication, effective delegation, and relationship-building skills are vital.

As a result, we’re seeing higher demand for leadership and management apprenticeships – a trend we expect to continue throughout the year.

See success in 2023 with BMS Progress

The best way to prepare for the year ahead is to equip your team with the right skills and knowledge to tackle any challenge that comes your way. And you don’t need to look further than BMS Progress.

Listed on the register of apprenticeship training providers and with 25 years of experience, we deliver world-class training. Get in touch with our team to learn more about what we do.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Why #SkillsForLife Starts With Your Existing Team.

National apprenticeship week is upon us once again. It’s the perfect opportunity for employers, training providers, and the wider community to celebrate apprenticeships. This year,

Unlock your team’s future

Upskilling existing workers isn’t just a smart move, it’s the right move. Well-established members of your team already know the ropes, ethos, and vision of your business, and are worth investing in.

Consider how many of your employees are brimming with potential. If you’re not surprised by the numbers, it’s definitely time to take action. By improving your existing employee’s skill set, you’re placing them and your business in the best position to tackle future changes and challenges – not just current ones.

Inspire apprentices

Apprenticeship training can really boost employee motivation, as it demonstrates your enthusiasm to retain their talent and invest in their future. Team members are more likely to feel confident in their work if they know you’re keen to back and support them to reach new heights.

Plus, employees will be pleased to see you address any skill gaps in your business. When you offer growth opportunities for existing team members, you inspire them to put themselves forward to learn something new.

Select the ideal programme

Different apprenticeships offer various skills for life – and finding one that ticks all your boxes can take some figuring out. So, how do you determine which apprenticeship is best for your new and existing employees to learn valuable skills for life?

Here are our top apprenticeship courses at BMS Progress:

Team Leader Apprenticeship, Level 3
Embolden the leaders of tomorrow with this qualification, suitable for individuals in first-line management. The course teaches skills like leading and managing people, operational management, and communication and relationship building.

IT Technical Sales Executive Apprenticeship, Level 3
This course will equip your digital sales team with vital skills to boost their knowledge and technical expertise. After completion, they’ll be adept at building customer loyalty and delivering exceptional sales and technical support.

Sales Executive Apprenticeship, Level 4
Learners won’t just further their career progression, but your business goals too. The apprenticeship covers effective selling, assertive negotiation, pipeline management, and more valuable sales skills.

Management Development Programme, Level 5
Help your senior leaders reach their full potential. Building on the level 3 apprenticeship, this management development programme takes team leaders to the next stage – acquiring and brushing up on the skills necessary to thrive as managers.

How can BMS Progress help?

Levelling up workforces is our bread and butter – our development coaches prioritise apprentices and teaching valuable skills for life.

Looking for a training provider? To find out more about the opportunities available with us, get in touch today.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





How to Maximise Your Apprenticeship Levy Budget

You may have heard of the apprenticeship levy, but are you making the most of it? Introduced in 2017, the initiative provides employers with benefits like upskilling existing and n

Secure support from the top

Businesses and organisations need backing from the people at the top to successfully upskill employees. By this, we don’t just mean talking the talk – senior leaders must walk the walk too. For apprentices to get the most out of their qualifications, they’ll require leaders who are focused, and can dedicate time to shape and educate them. A good way to get approval from above is to demonstrate the value of apprenticeships, and work with a specialist training provider.

Ensure varied upskilling

Training should provide team members with a range of transferable soft skills that encourage progression and improve agility. For example, someone who studies the level 3 team leader apprenticeship will hone new communication, finance, and project management abilities.

That’s why, when it comes to selecting an apprenticeship provider, it’s always worth making sure they teach relevant and valuable skills to your team.

Spend your whole budget

What happens if you don’t spend the entirety of your budget? Your contributions return to the government. So taking full advantage of the apprenticeship levy budget and spending it all is in your best interests.

The government foots 95% of the bill, leaving you with only 5% to pay. Essentially, this provides organisations with low-cost training, which is definitely worth paying attention to.

Explore different programmes

Taking the time to find the right course for your team’s discipline, roles, and skill sets is vital to get the most out of the training – and maximise your time and budget.

For instance, a level 5 course could be too advanced for someone new to the world of management. Likewise, a dedicated sales programme probably isn’t suitable for those who need to know more about the technical side. Therefore, it’s critical employers do their research to find a learning provider who can offer a range of courses as and when your team requires them.

Find the right strategic learning provider

Your training provider should meet (and exceed) your apprenticeship expectations. BMS Progress offers a host of different courses, but remains very specific in its area of expertise, designed to enhance career progression and further propel your workforce.

Not only do our development coaches possess extensive experience, they’re also able to support apprentices and understand their requirements from day one. What’s more, we provide tailored training, meaning we can cater to individual needs.

Our range of apprenticeships include:

Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship

Level 3 IT Technical Sales Executive Apprenticeship

Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship

Level 5 Leadership Apprenticeship

Upskill new and existing employees with BMS Progress

Ready to get the ball rolling? Visit our apprenticeship page to find out more about our courses, and why BMS Progress is your best port of call.

Or to reach out to the team directly, get in touch today.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





How Does Our Level 3 IT Technical Sales Executive Programme Create Future Digital Sales experts?

The BMS Progress level 3 IT technical sales executive programme focuses on several core areas – all developed with the technical sales expert in mind. As such, we combine both tech

Strengthening communication skills

As part of this 13-month programme, learners will gain the ability to work as part of a team as well as independently, polishing their skills to successfully communicate with others in numerous instances. What's more, they’ll be able to demonstrate effective communication in both written and oral form at a range of levels.

Creating a strong customer experience also falls into this area. That’s why we ensure learners are capable of nurturing relationships by displaying strong interpersonal skills and cultural awareness throughout all sales operations.

Developing client and sales understanding

We ensure learners gain the ability to identify customer requirements once they’re in real-world situations too. We then guide budding technical sales experts on how to meet those customer needs with any relevant techniques, services or products.

The sales process ties in well with lead development, which is why our programme modules also cover this topic. Learners will sharpen their ability to operate all sales-related tasks with integrity, whilst also ensuring the organisation's brand and image is maintained during negotiations. By the end of the apprenticeship, they’ll be adept at closing sales and handling objections with a strong understanding of both markets and external competitors.

Improving knowledge of technology and data security

A core element of our level 3 IT technical sales executive apprenticeship is providing learners with the relevant skills and knowledge to adhere to their organisation’s data security policies. In practice, this training should ensure that, once qualified, they can effectively communicate, record and analyse data at the appropriate level.

To coincide with this, our programme incorporates technical aspects that require learners to understand and explain any technical systems sold by their respective organisation. This is alongside the technology systems they’ll use day to day.

Honing project management abilities

Shaping an aspiring digital sales expert to work flexibly, so that they can meet varying demands and requirements from colleagues and customers, is one of the main aims of our programme. Through our training, learners will build upon this by showing they can work under pressure too, as well as manage their time efficiently to improve the overall workflow of an organisation.

In tandem with project management training, our programme dedicates time to providing apprentices with advanced problem-solving skills. This entails not only structured troubleshooting techniques, but also when and how to implement the correct tools in line with any relevant guidelines.

Invest in your future digital sales experts

Now that you’ve got an idea of how BMS Progress will level up your workforce, what’s next?

If you’ve any questions about how to enrol members of your team on to one of our programmes or courses, get in touch with us. Alternatively, you can find further details on the Level 3 IT Technical Sales Executive Apprenticeship page.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Safeguarding Awareness Month: What it is and How it Forms Part of BMS Progress’ Training?

September is our safeguarding awareness month here at BMS Progress. It’s something that’s extremely important to us. So much so, in fact, that we have a designated safeguarding lea

My role as Designated Safeguarding Lead

Ofsted requires that all education providers take their responsibility to safeguard seriously. Here at BMS Progress, we have in place a designated safeguarding lead (myself) and a deputy safeguarding lead (our performance manager, Rochelle Hewitt). But it’s much more than a tick-box exercise to us.

I previously worked in schools, which obviously come with greater safeguarding concerns as you’re dealing with people under the age of 18. Most of our learners now are older, but we still treat safeguarding just as seriously by upskilling our staff.

For instance, we keep them up to date with key topics on the agenda within education. I also make sure that there are the correct policies in place around safeguarding, and that all team members have passed a DBS check.

The role of our coaches

We’ve ensured that our coaches are well trained to support learners, particularly with their mental health – something that’s very prevalent in all ages. They’re able to handle the more sensitive discussions and spot the signs of someone who may need further attention.

Learners’ mental health can be more fragile. After all, they’re not only doing an apprenticeship, but they also have a job to hold down – and they sometimes have families too. Plus, sales roles are naturally quite stressful, and it’s common to suffer setbacks. Being able to strengthen your resilience and self-motivation goes hand in hand with wellbeing – both mental and physical. That’s why we guide learners on how to pick themselves up, as well as talk about and supply resources on topics that open the mind.

As part of this, we make them aware of safeguarding and wellbeing as a priority. We ask questions like ‘how are you?’ and ‘how are things at work?’, which can draw out related conversations. Our development coaches become confidants. It really does go beyond sales training – and that’s further reflected in our focus on personal development during our courses.

Our emphasis on personal development

The support of the development coach comes under the umbrella term of ‘personal development’. Previously, commercial training would focus on development in terms of things like negotiation skills. But over the last three years, we’ve introduced safeguarding and opened up these conversations.

We don’t technically have to have these conversations with learners, but I do feel they’re beneficial. And whilst they’re not the main focus of the sessions with their development coach, it'll be a discussion point where we’ll encourage the learner to bring something to the meeting. It’s up to them whether they do or not.Ultimately, every learner, even if they’re still young, has had previous experiences – whether that’s in other workplaces or maybe an education setting. They come to us with a desire to complete a sales training programme, and in the process, we try to enhance their personal development. This can be through discussions, as well as encouraging them to become active citizens and working in ways that are inclusive. We can’t judge if they don’t follow through on these, but at least we’ve given them access to the resources and conversations to do so.

What we’re doing this safeguarding awareness month

We have a safeguarding awareness month every September to ensure it’s prioritised. This involves bringing topics to the surface by talking about safeguarding at every interaction. Key subjects are mental health and wellbeing, sexual consent, and bullying and harassment in the workplace. Some of these are easier for learners to relate to, and others we’re just bringing to their attention.

Something we didn’t expect to be talking about this September is grieving for someone you didn’t know. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, we’ve tried to provide advice that we hope is helpful to those affected. We also have various eLearning modules as part of our emphasis on safeguarding, like ‘the importance of sleep’. We don’t force learners to complete these – we just recommend them if we feel a particular topic would be useful. They provide small nuggets of information, and learners can take what they need from it.

Focus on safeguarding with BMS Progress

We truly believe that safeguarding should be a topic of discussion for every employer and learner.

If you’d like to find out more about our safeguarding awareness month, or how it forms part of our training, speak to our team today.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





The Need for Training and Lifelong Learning in B2B Selling.

Last month, MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary group for professional sales, Mark Pawsey, led a Westminster hall debate. His speech was focused on why B2B selling is so im

The importance of B2B selling

Mark Pawsey argued about the necessity of B2B selling. Worth approximately £1.7 trillion (44% of the UK’s gross value added), it’s vital to the UK economy, and supports 10 million jobs. With 80% of businesses generating part, or all, of their turnover from selling to other businesses, it clearly plays a crucial role in the economy’s growth.What’s more, the UK depends on B2B selling overseas to maximise on new market development opportunities. B2B sales can help the country to recoup from the recession and improve overseas trade. But to achieve this, it needs skilled salespeople.

The talent required

B2B selling isn’t like retail selling (a swift transaction) – it’s generally lengthy, complicated, and involves numerous people. Sometimes sales deals can have multiple stakeholders, and the amount sold can be very high.Interestingly, sales was recently re-categorised as a profession by the office for national statistics, because some B2B roles require a degree and at least five years’ experience before an individual is deemed competent. Plus, as Pawsey pointed out, the job has become more demanding over the last decade. It takes in-depth product knowledge, extensive market and customer insight, empathy, communication and negotiation skills, teamwork, strategy, and critical thinking.

The skills issue

Like many sectors, there’s a growing number of vacancies, but there’s also a skills shortage that’s making it difficult to fill them, especially in SMEs. Work is needed to attract people into sales roles and overturn the undeserved negative reputation. Pawsey recommends that the government promote awareness and respect for B2B sales, digital skills are also key. The pandemic triggered businesses to leverage digital tools, but many SMEs have halted their use of technology. It’s clear that there’s a great deal of upskilling and training required. If this is accomplished, it could add £150–£190 billion a year to the economy by 2030, as predicted by the CBI.

The solution

As for what can be done to fill this skills gap and maximise on the power of B2B selling, Pawsey put forward a number of ideas:

Referencing B2B sales in school, college and university curriculums, with more sales professionals teaching in further education colleges and growth hubs.
Work-based qualifications to help form clearer pathways into the sales profession, along with more apprenticeships.
More on-the-job learning, courses, and qualifications in professional sales, backed by the department for education, and courses eligible for funding under the lifetime skills guarantee.

Mentoring and support for organisations involved in B2B sales, and profession representatives taking part in government and industry advisory groups.
Incentives for businesses (particularly SMEs) to adopt new technology and train up their teams.

These suggestions encompass a variety of training – from school, to on the job, and beyond – aiming to get more people into sales, and to further the development of those currently working in such roles.

Training with BMS Progress

Selling is a dynamic job, and for many a lifelong career. Here at BMS Progress, we offer a variety of training programmes, including one in Sales Excellence alongside our Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship Standard.

Our courses are bespoke, and aimed at the individual’s specific needs. Several of the apprentices in our Level 4 cohort are already very experienced but want to better their knowledge and capabilities. If your business would also like to reap the rewards of tailored learning, speak to us today.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Vital Role of B2B Selling is Recognised at Westminster.

In case you missed news of this week’s landmark debate on business-to-business (B2B) selling in Westminster hall, here’s a link to a summary of the meeting, with a full transcript

Westminster hall debates give MPs the chance to raise local or national issues and receive an immediate response from a government minister.

This debate was led by Mark Pawsey MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group for professional sales. Business and industry minister Lee Rowley MP replied on behalf of the government.During his speech, Mark Pawsey explained the financial significance of B2B selling and said supporting and upskilling the profession was vital for the UK economy and with it, our ability to take advantage of trade deals with new, overseas markets.

Click the link for a summary, full transcript and video:

Barry Hilton, David Bill, Mark Hart, Jim Irving FF.ISP, FCIM, Julie Kapsalis, Kenneth Le Meunier-FitzHugh, Matt Spencer F.ISP, Patricia Seabright, Dr Tony Douglas, Beth Rogers, Louise Sutton, Simon Overton, Guy Lloyd FF.ISP

#salesbestpractices #salesexcellence #salesdevelopment


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





How Can You Ensure Quality in Apprenticeship Training?

Our quality manager & designated safeguarding lead, Katie Rooney, plays a key role in helping us deliver world-class apprenticeships for our learners. She also supports the team to

Why is quality important?

Quality is absolutely crucial in training. It guarantees that learners, employers, and our own colleagues have a great experience and develop effectively in a way that works for them.

To be quality-driven, I think, is an inherent trait that comes from within. The will to do things correctly and drive excellence on a granular scale will ultimately pay dividends for the bigger picture. This is something we look out for when selecting staff, as although we can train on our quality processes, the desire to want to ‘be amazing’ (one of our core values) should be organic.

Key attributes of quality training


The core attribute of quality training is very obvious: passion. Our team needs to be passionate and enthusiastic about developing people and going that extra mile, and also passionate about making sure it’s done properly.

Let’s take an example, like planning a coaching session for a learner. It’s not quite as simple as sending an invite on teams and meeting ad hoc to chat about their programme. Our development coach will plan the session, being curious and inquisitive to reflect on the learner’s starting point. They’ll review their current progress, and select suitable activities and topics that are relevant to that learner at that time. All the while, they’ll ensure their service is individualised and aligned with the curriculum plan for their employer – phew!


Everyone within BMS Progress has a part to play in quality arrangements, including our business support services. Quality activity expands across all teams. Our quality framework includes activities such as:

Learning visits.

Work scrutiny.
Analysis of learner and employer feedback.
Curriculum review.
Portfolio deep-dives.
Skills development checks.
End-point assessment results analysis.

These are just some of the regular activities we complete to assure that our service to all learners and employers is standardised, consistent, and the best it can be.


A big contributing factor to our reputation as a quality training provider, I believe, is our high-performing yet supportive culture. Everything’s transparent. We work as a team in our approach. Questions are brought to the table, and then explored across the group.

This supportive environment goes hand in hand with wanting to do things in the right way. When we support our staff to be the best they can be, quality delivery is the norm – and this has a positive impact on the learner.


Another key attribute of quality is compliance: meeting our regulated education frameworks. For apprenticeships, one of the biggest is ofsted’s education inspection framework (EIF). It governs how we set out our training at BMS Progress and helps us validate that we do a good job.

Our quality framework has been built to compliment the EIF, and all aspects of our provision are quality assured to ensure that when we get ‘the call’ we actually welcome inspectors through the door and minimise the air of panic that can often accompany an inspection.


We always try to pre-empt when issues may arise and recognise any potential sticking points. When something is identified – say, someone wasn’t as successful on an assignment, or a topic isn’t landing well – we work in tandem with the curriculum team to redesign the specific aspect in question.

What’s more, we make sure that our innovative resources actually engage the learner by researching the latest digital tools to see if they offer a more effective way of imparting knowledge. We want learners to receive more than just a power point presentation; sessions should be interactive. And to ensure that’s what they want too, we run regular surveys to gain their views on training as well as our overall delivery.


At BMS Progress, we aim to continuously upskill our wider team as well. A recent example of this is that some of our staff have embarked on their teaching qualification. When it comes to continuous professional development, we practise what we preach and encourage this self-improvement internally as well as externally.

This links back to another one of our core values: ‘be expert’. Our team needs to fulfil their own potential if they want to do the same for others.

Discover the BMS difference

As BMS Progress comes from the commercial world of training, our training needs to be of the utmost quality. Funded training has got a bad reputation in recent times, but we took the quality mindset and built our apprenticeships – and ultimately our company – with quality at the core.

Because we’re driven by the learning experience, we ensure quality. In fact, it’s become second nature; each member of our team shares the quality mindset, guaranteeing that learners can progress, achieve, and have a good time whilst doing it. As Henry Ford once said, “quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”

If you’d like to experience what makes us stand out from other training providers, please get in touch with our team. We’d be happy to explain more about our available apprenticeships and what BMS Progress can offer you.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





National Apprenticeship Week 2022: Why Apprenticeships are the New Normal for Employers?

Each year, national apprenticeship week provides the perfect opportunity to look at how this form of training is evolving to suit the needs of both you and your staff. Though the c

The apprenticeship levy enables targeted development strategies

Every organisation – from SMEs to large companies – can build a world-class development strategy thanks to the apprenticeship levy. This government scheme raises a 0.5% levy on the payroll of large employers with an annual wage bill exceeding £3 million. This funding can be used within 24 months to cover the organisation’s own apprenticeship scheme – any unused funds expire and return to the government.

But it isn’t just a nuisance tax. Thanks to the system reforms brought in alongside the levy, it’s actually a planned investment you can make use of to add real value to your business. For instance, the shift from apprenticeship frameworks to apprenticeship standards gives employers more control when it comes to areas of development. Team members can now excel in a specific role, and have a much clearer idea on how to progress in their careers. Our level 3 team leader apprenticeship is a strong example of how you can now shape the training model to suit the needs of your business, and refine the curriculum to align with your core values and target markets.

The levy has changed who can deliver funded training too. A register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) was set up at the same time as the levy, enabling businesses to look beyond the larger and more generalised providers. Now, specialist providers like us can help ensure your team is supported with relevant training delivered by subject matter experts.

SMEs with wage bills below the £3 million benchmark don’t miss out either. Non-levy paying employers can still receive 95% of the cost of an apprenticeship through the government's co-investment scheme, creating a greater sense of balance between companies and greater access to additional training for workers.

They’re crucial to continuous professional development

The levy has certainly played its part in championing the value of apprenticeships. Where some employers had previously disregarded training programmes due to budget constraints, they’re now taking full advantage of them to upskill their staff.

There’s been a monumental shift in perceptions too. While apprenticeships have seemingly fallen out of favour for under 17s, they continue to be popular among over 24s and tend to be at a higher or advanced level. Apprenticeships are no longer viewed as just an option for school leavers, but a way to offer training to any staff member regardless of age or experience. Even a business director can study an MBA as an apprentice.

What’s more, with a tailor-made training plan to tap into, employers don’t need to find their own opportunities for CPD. 20% of the apprenticeship is made up of off-the-job learning, providing outside support and expert guidance to ensure learners get the very most from it.

In some cases, apprenticeships are even helping employers retain talent. They offer continuous development by their very nature, which is a key indicator to staff that you care about them and are willing to invest in their progression. Millennials and Gen Z value this in particular, often more so than money.

It couldn’t be easier to get started and begin seeing results

But where should you start? One route is a levy-funded Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship. Sales is often one of the most underfunded and overlooked areas when it comes to training, yet a well-organised sales team is essential to business success. This apprenticeship trains your team on ethical sales tactics that can generate more revenue and create happier customers, in turn adding more credibility to your organisation and leading to more enquiries. It also includes content on sector intelligence, sales negotiations, questioning skills and professional behaviours.

AkzoNobel and Buildbase are just two companies that have reported a number of benefits from this apprenticeship, including:

Enhanced sales performance.
Improved employee confidence.
Opportunities to promote internally.
Full use of their levy payments.

With the right apprenticeships, employers can now truly improve performance and progress careers. To find out how BMS Progress will guide your staff to reach their full potential, get in touch. We’ll outline how we’ll work in tandem with you to ensure all programme content aligns with your wider objectives and paves the way for continuous improvement.


BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





How Has The Apprenticeship Levy Impacted The Business World?

The apprenticeship levy came into force in April 2017, accompanied by major reforms to the system. This involved moving from apprenticeship frameworks to standards, and directly fu

But what has happened since its introduction?

Here, we explore the impact the levy has had on the business world so far. Higher level starts, there was an almost immediate trend towards higher level starts in apprenticeships (level 4-7), with many sectors facing an increased demand for more advanced skills. Indeed, larger businesses have used the levy to either substitute or complement their existing higher-level training (like graduate schemes).

Higher level starts

There was an almost immediate trend towards higher level starts in apprenticeships (level 4-7), with many sectors facing an increased demand for more advanced skills. Indeed, larger businesses have used the levy to either substitute or complement their existing higher-level training (like graduate schemes).

Generally speaking though, the higher level the apprenticeship, the higher the cost – which isn’t so easy for SMEs to fund. What’s more, whilst this does result in a stronger level of apprentices, overall it means that less individuals are being trained. There was a reduction in lower level apprenticeships too, which are typically taken up by people under the age of 25 and/or from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Levy paying vs non-levy paying

Businesses have been found to be more likely to use the levy if they are a levy-paying organisation. Those with an annual pay bill of at least £3m contribute to the apprenticeship levy – to the tune of 0.5% of their pay bill surplus to this threshold. It makes sense, then, that they’re more likely to take advantage of it.  As a result, many levy payers view the initiative as a positive. Ultimately, it provides them with a funding pot specifically for apprenticeship standards, which can be used to train their existing workforce and people new to their role. However, smaller businesses who don’t contribute to the levy still have to pay 5% of the apprenticeship funding band.

Other impact factors

COVID-19 of course had an effect, with an estimated 14% drop in apprenticeship starts for new hires. Whilst apprenticeship recruitment didn’t see much impact initially as hiring decisions had already been made, it’s expected that the pandemic will have knock-on consequences later down the line.

s expected, apprenticeships related to leisure, retail, travel and tourism, and commercial enterprise have seen a decline. The government has brought in financial incentives to encourage take up, the effects of which we again expect in due course.

Employers are now able to choose from a wide range of apprenticeship standards, across all job roles, and select from the broadened spectrum of skill-specific providers who are approved by and registered with the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP).

How BMS Progress has improved apprenticeship training

Here at BMS Progress, we’re not just listed on the RoATP – we’ve flipped apprenticeships on their head. When the levy came into action, we saw the opportunity to evolve our training proposition. Now, we enable every individual to take control of their own continuous development – no matter their age, budget, or size of their business.  Through us, you can expect professional, ESFA- and Ofsted-compliant training that translates to real results for your business. Whether you need help upskilling team leaders or boosting your sales performance, our blended programmes are ideal.

From interactive workshops to one-to-one coaching and eLearning content, our apprenticeship training is making waves in the industry. That’s why we’ve received such positive feedback from learners and employers alike.

Discover more about what our apprenticeships could do for you, your business, and your team. Improve performance, progress careers with BMS Progress.



BMS Progress Apprenticeship Hub





Is Your Sales Team Eligible for Levy Funded Sales Apprenticeship Training?

Comprehensive sales training at no extra cost? Yes, you may have heard of the new sales apprenticeship scheme, launched last year, that allows companies to train their sales team t

But what is it? Who is it for? How is it funded? And importantly… Is it for you?

In short, the level 4 sales executive apprenticeship standard is a comprehensive, accredited sales training qualification that helps salespeople to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours to excel in sales. Plus, it is paid for out of your HMRC apprenticeship digital account, meaning your sales team can receive expert training without you having to find a training budget to pay for it.

Sound too good to be true? Well, not every company will meet the criteria necessary to get the green light but its certainly worth investigating. To help you identify if the sales apprenticeship is right for you and your team, we have put together this handy checklist. If you do meet the criteria and are interested to know more, you can apply for more info at the end of this blog and we will be happy to help.

Your company’s payroll is over £3 million per year

If your company’s payroll is over £3 million per year you could be sitting on a huge pot of unallocated money that you could spend on sales apprenticeship training.

Why? All companies that have a payroll of over £3m are required by HMRC to pay the apprenticeship levy. This levy amounts to 0.5% of their total payroll and sits in their digital apprenticeship account. The money in the digital account can only be spent on apprenticeship standard training. Over time this money accrues until companies can be sitting on hundreds of thousands of pounds of unspent training budget. If it is not used within 24 months then the funds expire on a monthly basis.

You have a sales team (of any seniority)

Contrary to historic beliefs about apprenticeships, the level 4 sales apprenticeship standard is not just for 16 to 18-year-olds. Designed for all ages and suitable for people with 0-5 years sales experience, once completed, your team will hold a vocational qualification the same level as a foundation degree.

You want to boost long term sales performance

The sales executive apprenticeship standard is not a one hit wonder or a motivational away day. Instead, it is carefully designed and accredited training, delivered in-house, that provides ongoing blended learning to achieve long term results.

What does that look like? Over the course of 17 months your sales team will receive a blended programme of classroom workshops, e-learning, knowledge modules and 1-1 coaching, culminating in an end point assessment (EPA) to measure progress, achievement, final outcome and grade. They pass each module once they have demonstrated all the skills, knowledge and behaviours of a competent sales professional.

You want your sales team to receive a recognized certification in sales

The level 4 sales executive apprenticeship gives each person an OFQUAL vocational qualification in professional selling. Plus, they receive an accreditation from the APS (association of professional sales) which is a stamp of approval your team can display on their LinkedIn profiles to boost credibility.

You want to attract and retain the best salespeople

Many companies find it challenging to attract and retain the best salespeople. With sales apprenticeship training in place it shows your team that you invest heavily in their development. This investment in people has been shown to significantly boost morale and motivation as well as sales performance. From new graduate recruits to senior salespeople, the nature of the sales executive apprenticeship makes it accessible and appealing to all.

Your team have a commitment to learning

In order to achieve the qualification, your team must work hard to practice and refine their sales skills. To do this, they must put the time in. Each person taking part in any apprenticeship standard must commit 20% of their time to learning and development.

Although this may seem like a lot, much of this 20% can be done on the job. As well as the structured training delivered by your chosen RoATP approved training provider, other activities such as 1-1 reviews, being shadowed/ coached/ mentored, planning for a meeting, preparing a pitch, attending an exhibition, learning product knowledge or listening to a podcast all count towards the 20%.

The most important thing is that each salesperson becomes adept at recognizing what counts as learning, and then becomes disciplined at recording it on their ePortfolio.

Your learners have relevant “maths and english functional skills”

To achieve the qualification, each learner must have attained the minimum requirement of grade C in maths and english. If they don’t have these, they must be willing to work towards them, supported by Functional Skills tutors.

You are happy to comply to Ofsted policies

Finally, as this is an OFSTED regulated and ESFA funded training programme, we need to make sure that 4 core OFSTED policies are embedded into each learner. These are: british values, prevent strategy, safeguarding and health and safety.

In summary, the level 4 sales executive apprenticeship standard is a great opportunity to get long term development for your team by using the funds accrued in your apprenticeship account. If you meet the criteria and want to know more, please apply by clicking here.

Blurb: The sales apprenticeship level 4, launched at the end of last year, is a great opportunity to get long term training for your team without touching your training budget.  This guide will help you identify if sales apprenticeship training is right for you and your sales team and (if it is) how you can apply today.