What does L6 mean?

It’s equivalent to a degree, and you will earn UCAS points for it too! While you are studying you can apply for an NUS apprenticeship card too.


How long is it?

It’s 24 months before EPA, EPA is up to 6 months on top of the teaching and is not exam based. You will complete a work based project, and a professional discussion, and presentation.


Who is it for?

Typically it’s for someone in the retail sector (in any business type delivering to trade, or B2C, and across different retail operations. It’s for someone in an Assistant or Junior position, that are new to managing or are about to take on more responsibility, or for a Buyer or Merchandiser who are managing a team. Or who want to take on new responsibility. It is worth looking at the duties to see if they fit in with your role. You can see them here.


How does it work for different retailers?

The course is really flexible and the design of the workshops changes depending on the retailers we are delivering to. There is nothing in the KSBs or workshops that is specifically branded or own brand, we adapt the content and examples we give, but also much of it is the learners interpretation too. For example, when we look at competitor and market analysis we talk about direct, indirect, internal and external competitors and markets, and things like Porters 5 forces, that can be applied to any retailer.


Tell me more about how you make it work?

The knowledge that we deliver is theory that can be applied to both own brand and branded, and we can always take out own brand relevant topics (e.g. garment labelling if that’s not needed, or go into less detail). 

The skills and behaviours are all about making it work for your business, and these criteria are really easily adapted to both branded and own brand. Many of them are just pushing learners to think in a different way encouraging them to look at things in a different way.


Will I have to do 20% OTJH?

Yes, you will need to commit 20% of your work time to learning. However, this will come from many areas and some of it from your day-to-day role. Reading, research, new training at work, workshops, completing assignments and plenty more all count towards OTJH. You will have an element of self-study for the course, and although you will be given plenty of support, you will need to commit to completing assignments and some self studying.


How is it delivered?

Currently it is delivered remotely, via Teams (or your preferred video call software) with some online systems to make it more engaging too. It will be 2 hours every 2 weeks. There are also monthly drop-in revision sessions, 1:1 support if needed, recommended reading, and research support for OTJH.

What are the assignments like?

There will be a mixture of written assignments, projects, presentations, and professional discussions. These will prepare you for EPA and will mimic your role too! There will always be work product evidence and observations too, so using ‘live’ workplace examples to evidence your learning.


What will it cover?

The course is split into 3 key ‘modules’. We start with 7 months of everyone together, looking at a core overview of :

  • Channels and Technologies
  • Range Planning
  • Leadership and Management 

The course then splits for 5 months into Buying and Merchandising tracks (you are welcome to attend both routeways, you will be given both sets of resources too). Delivery remains every 2 weeks for the duration of the course. However, there are also tutorial weeks, which will be more informal knowledge sharing, or best practice sharing, and presentation sessions.

Over the 5 month split we will delve deeper into range planning, and how each role supports the process. Some examples of sessions are:

Buying: negotiation and relationship building, ethical branded and own brand sourcing, auditing supplier safety.

Merchandising: target setting and achievement, product route to market, forecasting and WSSI.

After this 5 months, you re-join as a whole group, and we go over the other two modules in detail. Workshops include:

  • Self development
  • Strategic decision making
  • Action planning for team development
  • Conflict resolution
  • Reacting to market changes
  • Customer engagement planning


Can you share workshop content?

The course is still in development stage at the moment and does not have final sign of from our IQA, so unfortunately, we cannot share course content currently. However, if you want more information on what’s covered do have a look at the standard so you can see the criteria, and we can give examples of the L4 if necessary.

It’s a good opportunity to talk to apprentices doing the L4 if you can, find out how they have found the course and what they have learned.