How our Level 4 Sales Apprenticeship propelled AkzoNobel

BMS Progress
Improve Performance, Progress Careers

Enhancing the skill sets of salespeople

AkzoNobel, a leader in the manufacturing of paints and coatings, and owner of the Dulux brand, wanted to leverage the apprenticeship levy and ensure the progression and development of their team. Learn how our Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship contributed to improvements in sales performance and growth.


AkzoNobel operates in more than 150 countries and focuses on sustainable solutions. With over 200 years to their name, and producing coatings for everything from beer cans to ships, they’re aiming to become the global industry leader.

Towards the end of 2019, their UK&I Sales Capability Lead, Simon Burke, sought out the support of BMS Progress. They wanted to explore what apprenticeships were available to develop their sales team, and we were recommended by the agency that manages their apprenticeship levy funds. Here, Simon details AkzoNobel’s goals and the solutions we provided.

"We’ve had a great experience with the level 4 sales executive apprenticeship. We now have almost 40 people at different stages of the programme. Some of our team will be graduating later in 2022, whilst others will be taking their first steps onto it. We’re very happy to continue our partnership with BMS Progress. They clearly set themselves really high standards, and achieve higher standards as a result. I’ve no doubt that they’ve helped to add real value to our organisation. I’m excited to see what the future holds for both us and them."

Simon Burke
UK&I Sales Capability Lead
BMS Progress - The challenge

The Objectives

We contacted BMS Progress in need of a training partner who could offer a programme with clear personal development as well as core standards and competencies.

To develop our people

We wanted individuals to be able to progress, helping us shape our organisation’s culture and retain and recruit top talent. For this, we needed a robust qualification delivered via a structured programme.

To improve skill sets

We needed a course that could teach our team the sales skills, behaviours and knowledge that they could employ in their day-to-day roles. This would improve their performance, in turn leading to growth and progression.

To maximise on the levy

We had contributed over £250,000 to the apprenticeship levy, so there was a pot of money which could be put to great use – providing we had the right programme in place.

BMS Progress - The solution

The Solution

We needed to be able to guarantee that the apprenticeship programme we chose would bring value to both the business and the team. BMS Progress were more than willing to spend the time to show us how they worked. For instance, they hosted internal interviews, insight sessions, and in-depth explorations of aspects of our training strategy. On top of this, they offered a comprehensive curriculum:

A company we could trust

For 3-4 months, we spent time observing how BMS Progress worked. We witnessed how their people operated in face-to-face business development sessions, and were impressed with their approach.

The right support

There’s more to development than training – we needed to be certain that our partner could effectively support our people too. We were assured that a designated development coach would provide one-to-one coaching as part of the programme.

The ability to partner

With BMS Progress, I had the opportunity to get involved and help with the programme’s content design. It was incredibly important to me that I could ensure it met the specific needs of our business, and at no point did I feel that I wasn’t able to offer my input.

BMS Progress - The result

The Result

We opted for the Level 4 Sales Executive Apprenticeship programme, which we launched in July 2020. The impact has been very positive, and I’ve received great feedback from both the apprentices and their line managers.

Confidence and growth

I’ve seen a huge increase in the confidence of individuals, and can absolutely say the programme has contributed to their growth, personal development and progression.

Improved sales performance

Now that our team has learnt critical new behaviours, these will translate into better performance. Line managers are already noticing improved skills, attitudes and knowledge.

Successful levy navigation

BMS Progress helped us work our way through the challenges related to using the apprenticeship levy and enabled us to get the most from it.

How can BMS Progress help you?

Want to find out more? Whether it’s about a specific programme,  apprenticeship standard or just about us and how we work, our team is always on hand to help. Simply get in touch using the button below and we will endeavour to answer your questions.

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