Apprenticeships for social entrepreneurs

Nearly half of all people aged 18-30 want to start their own business. While seven in 10 of prospective start-ups are influenced by social causes. The demand for the required skills and experience is, therefore, huge.

We are answering that demand. We are a founding partner of the apprenticeship for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs.

Working in collaboration with government, business and both entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs we have establish a ‘trailblazing’ group. Comprised of over 100 employers and organisations, the ‘trailblazing’ group has provided valuable insight, which has shaped our Level 4 apprenticeship.

UnLtd apprenticeships

47% of people aged 18-30

Close to half of the people aged 18-30 want to start their own business. 


The number of newly registered business in 2012. 


The number of estimated businesses in 2014.

What is the apprenticeship for entrepreneurs?

The apprenticeship for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs is about giving young people the experience of running a business. Working with employers, they learn valuable skills and gain first-hand experience.  

Employers host apprentices within their organisation. And they can choose from different educational models – defining how they want to work with apprentices to give them the knowledge they need to become a social entrepreneur.  The models are likely to include:

  • Direct model – the apprentice takes on various roles within the organisation and is set challenges by the employer, which help the apprentice to develop the skills and knowledge they need to set up their own venture.
  • Incubator model – the apprentice works for an employer, and receives incubation support during the apprenticeship, as they get their own venture off the ground.
  • Franchise model – the apprentice receives support while working to replicate the employer’s business model in a new location, possibly through a joint venture or franchise arrangement.


Of social start-ups are influenced by social causes. 


Would choose to form a social enterprise.


Of higher apprentices report getting a promotion after completing their apprenticeship.

How the apprenticeship was developed

The apprenticeship has been developed over the past three years. It was a collaborative approach seeking input from a range of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, employers and stakeholders.

To develop the standard we worked with a ‘trailblazer’ group of over 100 employers and other organisations. We sought their expertise and experience in managing their businesses and working on other apprenticeship schemes. This led to us developing the standard and pegging the apprenticeship at Level 4, typically being completed in 24 months.

The journey: 

  • July 2015 – Apprenticeship for entrepreneurs reflects new economic reality
  • April 2015 – UnLtd calls on the next Government to introduce apprenticeships for entrepreneurs as part of the Social Economy Alliance
  • January 2015 – UnLtd and FSB seek views on apprenticeships for entrepreneurs
  • October 2014 – Minister for civil society Rob Wilson applauds apprenticeships idea
  • September 2014 – Lord Young joins the debate on apprenticeships for social entrepreneurs
  • September 2014 – Apprenticeships idea chimes with Labour’s thinking
  • September 2014 – UnLtd invites politicians to explore a social entrepreneurship apprenticeship
  • September 2014 – UnLtd urges politicians to back an apprenticeship for entrepreneurs as part of the the social economy

The next steps

Interested? Find out more about the apprenticeship for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs. 

Email our apprenticeships team

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