FEATURE25 November 2019

Learning the market research trade

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Features Impact UK Youth

It takes time to establish an apprenticeship but thanks to a team of trailblazers, the market research sector is edging ever closer to getting one off the ground. By Jane Bainbridge

Young people working office_Crop

In 2017, the government introduced the apprenticeship levy, to apply to all employers in England with an annual pay bill of more than £3m. The levy – calculated as 0.5% of this annual pay bill and collected through HM Revenue and Customs’ Pay As You Earn (PAYE) – aims to create 3m apprenticeships by 2020.

In response to concerns about the scheme’s complexity, and worries that not enough apprentices were being signed up, the then chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced some reforms to the levy last year.

The Market Research Society (MRS) first raised the idea of a market research apprentice scheme in 2012 – but, at that time, the reaction from the sector was somewhat muted. Part of the problem was an entrenched belief that market research was a graduate-level profession, so apprentices weren’t appropriate.

However, when the government brought in the apprenticeships levy, it changed things. The MRS went out to the market again in 2016 and by 2017 initial meetings started taking ...