Opinion Leadership

Flora’s April roundup

Learn more about our two key priorities: supporting the financial sustainability of our business schools and celebrating 10 years of the Small Business Charter.

11th April 2024
  • Home
  • / Insights
  • / News
  • / New CABS report reveals business and management apprenticeships strengthen social mobility
News Apprenticeships

New CABS report reveals business and management apprenticeships strengthen social mobility

8th February 2024

A new report from the Chartered Association of Business Schools reveals business and management apprenticeships provide social mobility and lifelong learning for all ages and for communities with lower participation in higher education.

The report, Bridging the gap: How business schools are building pathways to success through degree apprenticeships contains a detailed analysis of reported apprenticeship and demographic data, which shows that business and management apprenticeships are providing an accessible, true progression route for those with lower level or no qualifications. The opportunity to drive social mobility is further enhanced through their position as the most popular type of degree apprenticeship. Business and management apprenticeships make up 47% of starts at levels 6 and 7 combined. 

  • Across level 6: 86% of participants progressed from lower-level qualifications, with nearly a fifth joining with less than A-level equivalent qualifications. Only 9% of participants held a degree prior to their apprenticeship. 

  • Across level 7: Degree apprenticeships allowed fast track progression for those with no prior degree (including those with no qualifications) at five times the rate of traditional postgraduate programmes.

The findings further showed these apprenticeships support social mobility by providing progression routes for communities with traditionally low higher education participation rates, those who attended state schools, and learners who are ‘first in-family’ to go into higher education.

  • One-third of level 6 business and management apprentices come from communities with low higher education participation rates. 

  • 97% of business and management apprenticeship participants attended a state school.

Both level 6 and level 7 business and management apprenticeships were found to provide lifelong learning, benefiting both young school leavers and mature learners. Young people comprised the largest share of business and management level 6 apprentices, with 40% aged 24 or under at the start of their study. It was also found that level 6 business and management apprenticeships extend opportunities to mature learners at a scale twice that of traditional undergraduate programmes. 

The popularity, accessibility and range of opportunities that business and management apprenticeships provide across the UK has a significant positive economic impact, with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggesting apprenticeships return £700 million to the economy each year. Business schools, through delivering business and management apprenticeships, have a key role to play in supporting employers to raise productivity and growth through improved management practices.  


Download the report here  

Speaking on the launch of the report, Jonathan Lawson, Chair of the Apprenticeships Committee of the Chartered Association of Business Schools and Director of Strategic Partnerships for the School of Business and Law at Manchester Metropolitan University said: 

“This report is the first of its kind to demonstrate the collective impact of the apprenticeships being delivered by our Business Schools. Degree Apprenticeships in business and management are increasingly making a significant and positive difference to social mobility and it is important that this is more widely understood. 

“Furthermore, we know we face significant productivity challenges in the UK, driven in part by low levels of management training. The apprenticeships offered by Business Schools can also provide employers, and the economy, a route map to raise productivity through high quality management skills, whilst supporting both young people and mature learners at every stage of their career.”

Professor Robert MacIntosh, Chair of the Chartered Association of Business Schools and Pro-Vice Chancellor for the School of Business and Law at Northumbria University, said: 

“As with other more traditional forms of undergraduate and postgraduate provision, business and management degree apprentice provision happens at a scale not seen in other disciplines and this brings both opportunity and challenge. 

“In terms of opportunity, the report points to the huge potential of business schools have to address the national productivity challenge by raising the leadership capacity of UK organisations. In terms of challenge, the regulatory burden associated with a more complicated, situated learning process delivered to large numbers of learners and supported by their employers needs to be proportionate if provision is to continue to flourish.”

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “This valuable research echoes CMI’s own data which shows that management and business apprenticeships not only offer employees the opportunity to upskill and advance, but also boost their organisation's productivity. This is true for both the private and public sectors; indeed, these apprenticeships are a key route to improve productivity and service delivery in the NHS.

“Our research also shows that management apprenticeships improve social mobility by supporting those who may have been denied a chance at higher education when they left school. Institutions should be proud of the positive impact these programmes are having, and consider how they can make these benefits available to more learners." 

The full report can be downloaded here 


About the Chartered Association of Business Schools

The Chartered Association of Business Schools is the UK’s business and management education sector. We support our members to maintain world-class standards of teaching and research, and help shape policy and create opportunities through dialogue with business and government.

The UK’s business schools contribute over £13b to the UK economy annually through their teaching, research and wider impacts. They teach more students than any other subject in UK universities. Business and management graduates go on to lead global businesses or become entrepreneurs, contributing to our dynamic economy. Business school research has an impact across society and helps to turn our capacity for invention into viable businesses. Our members consist of business schools and higher education providers, as well as affiliate stakeholders, corporate members and international partners.