4 Steps to Building a Strong Business Analyst Team With Apprenticeships

According to a recent Gartner. survey, 89% of board directors acknowledge that digital business strategies are integral to all aspects of business growth. 

However, only 35% of these directors report that they are on course to meet or have already met their digital transformation objectives.

So who is responsible for the successful execution of digital business strategies?

Skilled business analysts significantly impact organisations by answering business needs with actionable data insights. They identify growth opportunities, enhance operational efficiency, and influence strategic decisions.

Their data analysis and market trend expertise boost profitability, customer satisfaction, and agility, essential in today's competitive business world.

Ultimately, it will be digitally skilled business analysts that ensure the success of your digital transformation objectives.

Publicly funded apprenticeships are an affordable and practical way of upskilling your workforce in important business analysis skills. And upskilling will undoubtedly help your organisation develop a strong analytical team. 

"Ultimately, it’s about digital transformation and Headshot photo of Lisa Cooney, Products & Services Manager at TrendBiblebusiness change. And for people who have good communication skills, are good at relationship building and like to solve problems, this is the kind of programme they need to get into."

- Lisa Cooney, Products & Services Manager, TrendBible

Let’s examine how these programmes can be instrumental in further honing the abilities of top-tier analysts. Keep reading to discover how your organisation can set about building the strongest business analyst team possible.

Using apprenticeships to build a strong business analyst team

Maintaining a strong team of analysts gives organisations a competitive edge.. And upskilling your analysts with a digital business analyst apprenticeship can have many benefits to both your organisation and individual employees.

Here are a few organisational benefits:

  • Improved skills development 
  • Cost-effective talent acquisition
  • Enhanced diversity in the team
  • Creating a pipeline of future talent within the organisation
  • Increased employee retention
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased adaptability to change

1. Build a business case for apprenticeships

Crafting a business case for apprenticeships is the first step to start your workforce's digital transformation. So how do you start?

Identify what problems you’re trying to solve

The first step in building a business case for apprenticeships is to pinpoint the specific challenges your organisation faces. These could range from data management issues or inefficiencies in processes, to a lack of market insights. 

Understanding these problems in detail will help you find the apprenticeship programme that best addresses these specific needs.

Three people in office looking at a board

How skilled business analysts help solve these problems

Skilled business analysts are instrumental in a wide range of data issues. They bring a blend of analytical skills and business acumen, enabling them to interpret data effectively and provide actionable insights. 

Their expertise can lead to improved decision-making processes, enhanced operational efficiency, and a better understanding of market trends and customer behaviours.

Lisa Cooney, Product & Services Manager at TrendBible, recognised the various issues being felt throughout different departments at her company and set to work addressing these. She saved her organisation 647 hours per year by adopting an end-to-end agency management system, amongst other achievements. 

RECOMMENDED READING: 4 Reasons Business Analysts are Key to Digital Transformation

Identify essential skills gaps within your organisation

An integral part of this process is to also recognise the skill gaps within your current team. Perhaps your team lacks advanced data analysis capabilities, for example, or needs stronger project management skills. 

Identifying these gaps allows you to focus on apprenticeships that will bring the most value to your team and address these specific shortcomings.

RECOMMENDED READING: How to Use HR Data Analytics to Identify Skills Gaps

Ensure alignment with an apprenticeship curriculum

Once you’ve identified the skills your team needs, the next step is to ensure these align with the curriculum offered in apprenticeship programmes. This ensures the apprenticeship is directly relevant and beneficial to your organisation’s needs. 

Look for programmes that offer a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical, hands-on experience in areas like data analytics, project management, and strategic planning.

2. Work with your HR team to access levy funding

The management of an organisation's levy funding typically sits with the Human Resources (HR) department. This funding is a crucial resource for developing talent and addressing skill gaps within the organisation, particularly in areas like business analysis.

Discuss with your HR team to understand the availability of levy funding. HR departments usually track the funds available and how these can be used for the organisation's growth and skills development needs.

Investigate any approved apprenticeship providers

Another critical aspect allocating funding is to enquire about any approved apprenticeship providers that your organisation already works with. 

Any existing providers that have already been approved may offer a business analyst apprenticeship programme. Knowing this could streamline the process of enrolling your team into the programmes.

However, if the current provider(s) do not offer a programme that aligns with your needs, you may want  to seek out a new provider that does. 

Exploring new providers

Looking for new providers involves a bit more legwork but can be incredibly fruitful. When considering new providers, it’s important to engage with them to understand their approach to apprenticeships. 

Requesting a demonstration of their Learning Management System (LMS) and other educational tools is a good practice. This helps in assessing the quality of their programme and its suitability for your organisation and your team.

Other important considerations include:

  • Teaching methodology - how are programmes delivered? How much of the learning happens in lectures and workshops vs. applied learning in real-world projects?
  • Faculty qualifications - what credentials and experience do trainers bring to the programme?
  • Track record - does the provider have case studies or references from other organisations that demonstrate clear impact and ROI from their business analyst programme?
  • Financial stability - is the provider currently profitable, or is there a real possibility of sudden changes in operations, teaching or support staff that could impact programme quality or disrupt your team's progress on the programme?

Apprenticeship provider-1

3. Get employees on programme

Now you've established a solid business case through the initial steps outlined above. You’ve gone through the proper channels to secure levy funding. And you’ve decided on the right programme for your team. Now it’s time to actually enrol staff on the apprenticeship programme. 

Highlighting the benefits of personal development is key. Employees should be made aware of how these programmes can enhance their skills, knowledge, and overall career profile. 

Additionally, emphasising potential opportunities for career advancement and any potential salary increases that come with completing the apprenticeship can be a major motivator. 

According to Glassdoor, the average digital business analyst in the UK earns 9% more than the average business analyst in the UK who has not received additional digital training in data analysis.

Communicate that these programmes are not just an investment in the company’s future, but also in the individual employee's professional growth and success. 

This dual focus on organisational and personal advancement creates a compelling reason for employees to participate actively in the programme.

RECOMMENDED READING: 5 Reasons Business Analysts Should Learn Data Skills

4. Guide and monitor employee progress on programme

Guiding and monitoring employee progress in a business analyst apprenticeship programme is a critical step in maximising the return on investment, again, for both the individual and your organisation. 

Managers who take an active and invested role in their employees' apprenticeship journeys tend to see the most significant benefits. This involvement goes beyond mere oversight. It's about being a supportive and engaged part of the learning process

Headshot photo of Jo Slaven, Commercial Director at TrendBible

"I'm really pleased with how the programme is going for Lisa. This is a learning curve for us all signing up to this apprenticeship, and it's been great to see what Lisa can produce as a result.”

- Jo Slaven, Commercial Director, TrendBible

At Cambridge Spark, we advocate for a hands-on approach from managers. We encourage regular one-to-one meetings with apprentices. These sessions are invaluable for keeping track of how apprentices are progressing, addressing any challenges they might be facing, and providing guidance and support. 

These meetings aren’t just check-ins. They’re opportunities for meaningful dialogue, feedback, and mentorship, fostering a supportive learning environment.

We also recommend that managers join the apprentice and their coach for a 30 minute session every 3-4 months. This meeting serves as a general catch-up about the programme and offers a broader perspective on the apprentice's development.

It also allows for alignment of the apprenticeship goals with your organisational objectives and ensures that the apprentice is receiving the support they need to achieve both organisational and personal targets.

2 women in an office talking


Building a strong business analyst team through apprenticeships is a strategic approach that combines organisational foresight with employee development. 

By identifying key problems and aligning with the right apprenticeship curriculum that address them, organisations can enhance their analytical capabilities. Active management involvement in monitoring and guiding employee progress ensures maximum return on investment too.

If your organisation is looking to embark on this transformative journey, Cambridge Spark offers a comprehensive Level 4 Digital Business Analyst apprenticeship programme

Get in touch via the form below and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.

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