Every year around 50,000 apprentices start their Customer Service Apprenticeship training in England, making it one of the most popular apprenticeship programmes. The need for high levels of customer service skills is evident across all sectors. In particular the Retail, Financial Services, Contact Centre, Hospitality, Sport and Recreation, Health and Social Care, Telecommunications and Travel and Tourism sectors have the particularly high levels of customer service apprentices, with many other sectors, such as Local Government, Motor Vehicle, Power & Energy, Housing and Manufacturing also showing numbers still in their hundreds.
Aims and objectives of this framework
The aim of this apprenticeship framework is to provide employers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors with a workforce that has high levels of customer service skills. By developing the knowledge and competencies required, customer service apprentices will be able to contribute to improved customer service delivery and increased customer satisfaction in the public and not-for profit sectors and attract new customers, improve customer loyalty and remain competitive and profitable in the private sector.
The main objectives are to:
⦁ Increase the supply of people with high level customer service skills to address the customer service skills gaps and shortages found in organisations of all sizes and across most sectors
⦁ Tap into the skills and talents of a diverse population by providing flexible entry routes into a career in customer service or to use as a springboard to a career in specific sector
⦁ Equip individuals with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to provide excellent customer service in a range of occupations and industries
⦁ Provide apprentices with an opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and experience they need to progress to roles with additional responsibilities and onto further and higher education, if they wish to do so.
Entry conditions for the Intermediate and Advanced framework
There are no mandatory entry requirements for this apprenticeship framework. However employers are looking to attract applicants who have a keen interest in providing excellent customer service and working as part of a team.  They expect applicants to demonstrate a “can do” attitude and have at least basic numeracy and literacy skills on which to build their customer service skills on.  Apprentices who are undertaking the Customer Service Advanced Apprenticeship are likely to have some prior experience in a customer service role, although this is not a formal requirement.
Intermediate Apprenticeship
Intermediate apprentices may work in roles such as communicating effectively with customers face to face, in writing, or by telephone, resolving problems and improving customer relations, promoting products and services, keeping records, gathering customer feedback, working in a team, developing complementary technical skills according to job role. The Intermediate Apprenticeship programme has the following components:
⦁ Level 2 Diploma in Customer Service
⦁ English Functional Skills
⦁ Maths Functional Skills
⦁ Employment Rights & Responsibilities (ERR)
⦁ Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)
Progression from the Customer Service Intermediate Apprenticeship:
Intermediate Apprenticeship, with support and opportunities in the workplace, can progress onto:
⦁ The Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Customer Service.
⦁ Other Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeships – particularly where customer service is an important part of the job such as Business & Administration, Retail, Hospitality and Travel & Tourism
⦁ The Advanced (14 – 19) Diplomas in a range of related sectors, including Business, Administration and Finance, Public Services, Hospitality and Retail
⦁ Further education to undertake customer service, business related or other qualifications.
⦁ With additional training, intermediate apprentices may be able to progress in their careers to roles including Customer Relationship Manager, Customer Service Executive Officer, Customer Service Delivery Co-ordinator, Customer Service Team Leader, Customer Service Supervisors and Managers, Senior Customer Service Advisers or a wide range of other Customer Service related roles.
Advanced Apprenticeship
Advanced apprentices may work in roles such as communicating effectively with customers face to face, in writing, or by telephone, resolving problems and improving customer relations, promoting products and services, using software/office equipment to communicate, keeping records, gathering and analysing customer feedback and leading a team. The Advanced Apprenticeship programme has the following components:
⦁ Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service
⦁ English Functional Skills
⦁ Maths Functional Skills
⦁ Employment Rights & Responsibilities (ERR)
⦁ Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)
Progression from the Advanced Apprenticeship Customer Service
Advanced apprentices, with support and opportunities in the workplace, can progress onto:
⦁ A Higher Level Apprenticeship programme in Contact Centre Management, Business & Professional Administration or Leadership & Management
⦁ Further or higher education to undertake customer service, business related or other qualifications, including Foundation Degrees in, for example, Contact Centres, Retail Management, Business Management or Hospitality
⦁ A range of Customer Service, Contact Centres, Sales, Business related and other undergraduate programmes
⦁ A range of Customer Service and other Professional Qualifications, including a Level 4 Diploma in Customer Service Management, a Level 4 Diploma in Contact Centres, or a Foundation Degree in Contact Centre Management.
With additional training, advanced apprentices may be able to progress in their careers to roles including senior customer service supervisor, customer service manager, and a range of other senior customer service related roles.