October 16, 2018: The news that training provider 3aaa (Aspire Achieve Advance Limited) has ceased trading, putting hundreds of jobs and thousands of apprenticeships at risk, shows how important professional bodies are in ensuring quality and creating a safety net for learners, writes Ben Turner, co-CEO of the Association of Professional Sales (APS).
With 3aaa in administration, about 4,500 learners at some of Britain’s biggest companies have been left in limbo. One apprentice, quoted in The Guardian newspaper, said she couldn’t believe the company had stopped trading just before she was due to receive her certificates. Another learner, two months away from finishing his qualification, told the BBC he was shocked the firm had gone under.
Employers will be equally disappointed as they pick up the pieces. There will be further costs to incur in finding new providers and work on future planning strategies will be delayed by this type of collapse.
The news about 3aaa highlights the difficulty in navigating the complex world of learning and apprenticeships, and on that, the Association of Professional Sales is here to help.
The APS has developed a Quality Management System (QMS) that helps support learners, employers and providers through the apprenticeship process. We have also developed relationships with some of the largest suppliers in the world to create a robust environment for sellers to learn.
When picking an apprenticeship organisation, employers should look for the sign of quality in the apprenticeship market, by choosing an organisation who are part of the APS quality programme and use the APS as an end point assessment. In that way they are assured of a guaranteed quality and a learner support path.
In developing level 6 and level 4 sales apprenticeships, the APS has been fortunate to work with some of the largest global organisations. The work and time that has gone into this process from senior sales leaders and sales enablement specialists is unquantifiable. We want our profession to have independent, recognised national standards, funded by business through the apprenticeship levy and respected inside and outside our industry.
Therefore, as the sales apprenticeships begin, we, at the APS, will do everything we can to protect the quality of delivery and the quality of provider that we work with to help protect employers and sellers who embark on sales apprenticeships. It is what our trailblazers have asked of us and a request we are pleased to support.
Andrew Wilson, Head of Quality at the APS, put it like this: “We are proud that the APS stands for quality, continuous improvement and compliance with regulatory conditions. Such adherence to these high-quality standards ensures that we only work with those training organisations that demonstrate the required competencies and processes of the APS Quality Management System and achievement of the APS ‘Approved Sales Training Organisation’ quality mark.”
The sales apprenticeships developed through the APS will be some of the most popular apprenticeships in the UK. Almost one thousand sellers are registering to receive this learning with support from the APS.
We look forward to promoting our accredited training organisations that are able to deliver both APS sales qualifications and sales apprenticeships and encourage all employers to look for these marks when choosing a provider for sales apprentices.
Ben Turner, APS, C0-CEO
The Association of Professional Sales is the leading authority for salespeople. We are a not-for-profit organisation, reinvesting in our profession to build standards, trust and education.