The UK’s first ever social enterprise apprenticeship pathway has been developed by RIO (the Real Ideas Organisation) and SFEDI Awards.
Part of the Level 3 Enterprise Apprenticeship, the social enterprise pathway is made up of a Level 3 Diploma in Developing and Implementing Socially Enterprising Ideas in Organisations, and can be undertaken by anyone looking to complete an apprenticeship in social enterprise.
The new pathway is open to anyone in the UK. Through this apprenticeship pathway, people will develop essential skills around business planning, marketing and sales negotiation, which can be transferred into further private sector and self-employment. The apprenticeship encourages and accredits apprentices to work with their organisation to develop a socially enterprising idea for a new product or service, or an improvement to an existing product or service. It is designed to meet the skill need of a diverse range of socially enterprising organisations of varying sizes.
Paula Winzar, Lead Developer of the SEQ at Real Ideas Organisation, says, “The level 3 social enterprise pathway has been developed for employers as much as learners; apprentices develop a new product or service to address an issue, or develop a new market for an existing service, bringing business development and a fresh perspective to the organisation. Elements also include training on cutting edge business skills and measuring social impact which we know employers want, and third sector apprentices need to develop skills in. This is exciting and we are looking for employers and colleges to work with to grow this offer. Contact email@example.com.”
Social enterprises aim to raise profits to solve an environmental or social issue, making them both ethically sound and sustainable organisations. With many existing businesses turning their attention to their environment and becoming more ethically aware, and the growth of new ethically conscious enterprises, the demand for social enterprise skills is growing and it’s clearly a sector that cannot be ignored.
This new pathway ensures that apprentices develop the skills and attitudes that are so pivotal to social enterprises. This new apprenticeship pathway demands no particular entry requirements or existence of specific skills. Applicants should simply have basic numeracy, literacy and communication skills and an understanding of businesses with a desire to work in a social enterprise context.
RIO is a social enterprise in its own right, supporting social enterprises to grow and embedding these social enterprise principles within education. RIO worked in partnership with SFEDI Awards to develop the Social Enterprise Qualification (SEQ), a global qualification which accredits social enterprise learning. Since its launch in 2012, 450 teachers and youth workers are already mentor trained to deliver the SEQ, and more than 700 learners have registered to complete the qualification across the UK and further afield.