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Level 4 Apprenticeship Standard for Commercial Procurement or the stand-alone study programme.   Which route is best?

Level 4 Apprenticeship Standard for Commercial Procurement or the stand-alone study programme. Which route is best?

Wednesday 10th July 2019

Which route is best?

For over 18 months now there have been two options available for procurement professionals who wish to develop their career further by studying of the CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement & Supply.

Basically, these are the two approaches.

The Level 4 Apprentice Standard for Commercial Procurement and the existing route, which is for the stand alone Level 4 Diploma study which is generally to attend a CIPS approved study centre, carry out examination based assessments, with supported learning, or, if desired through distance learning.

The Level 4 Standard for 4 Commercial Procurement encompasses the Level 4 Diploma and requires the learner to have 20% off the job learning, which ideally is structured to support the apprentice into a fully fledged procurement professional role such as a Buyer or Commercial Specialist. The apprenticeship programme also consists a 5,000 word project and interview as part of the required end point assessment process. The leaner will be awarded the CIPS Level 4 Diploma qualification and well and the Level Commercial Apprentice certification. There is also a requirement for additional learning on Category Management which will provided by the CIPS approved study centre. One of the undoubted benefits of the Apprenticeship Standard option is that is free of charge to Levy paying organisations and just £450.00 to non Levy paying organisations. This includes all study materials, examination fees and tuition.
This is just a fraction of the cost to take the stand-alone L4 Diploma qualification route. The payment required is for CIPS student membership

The disadvantages are the required 20% off the job learning that is stipulated by the ESFA for any apprenticeship programme However structured properly these activities can be tailored to really add value to organisations and promote significant progress in team capability. The 5000 word assignment and EPA is also a burden, however, structured properly this could be a project that could add value to the organisation, such as improvements in P2P or Category Management projects.

The stand alone route to the Level 4 Diploma professional qualification is much simpler, and is provided through exactly the same learning route, but without the requirement for 20% off the job leaning, or an end point assessment project and interview.
Whilst this approach may suit employers, it comes at a cost typically around £2,500 plus study guides, examination entry and tuition fees. Learners typically spend a minimum of 4- 8 hours per week studying in their own time, which is quite an undertaking.

At The Procurement Academy, we offer both apprenticeship and stand alone route to CIPS professional qualifications at Level 4.

Progression to Level 6 full MCIPS qualification is currently only available through stand-alone study. However, an apprenticeship standard is currently being developed through a Level 3 & 6 Trailblazer group, which is Chaired by Elaine Morris, of NHS London Procurement Partnership and our Director, Mandy Chippindale, is a committee member too.