Trade Supplier Apprenticeship

Created by wholesalers for wholesalers, this is a new apprenticeship standard for England launched in April 2018.

Trade Supplier Apprenticeship: created by wholesalers for wholesalers

The apprenticeship standard your sector has been waiting for.                                                                                                                                                                                       Enquire now

  • Packed with £4,000 worth of bespoke training – SMEs pay just £200 of training costs
  • 12 month apprenticeship standard at Level 2
  • Fully assessed: apprentices must pass an observation test, knowledge test and professional discussion
  • Available in England since April 2018
  • The most popular apprenticeship for EDA members                                                                                                                                                              

A job-focused rigorous programme of training that’s ideal for both new recruits and as a training option for people you already employ.

Launched in early 2018, this is the result of two and a half years’ work by a group of employers, large and small, working together as ‘trailblazers’. Initially the trailblazers were led by EDA and its members. The group expanded when the Builders Merchants Federation joined, along with some of their leading members.

For the employers who volunteered their time to develop the Trade Supplier Apprenticeship Standard

Created for B2B merchant businesses

The apprenticeship is tailored specifically for new recruits to any B2B wholesaler or merchant business.

The Trade Supplier apprenticeship is suitable for any business involved in selling goods and services between manufacturers and their skilled trade customers, including electro-technical, plumbing, timber, or general building supply sectors.

Details of Trade Supplier Standard and Assessment

The government’s Institute for Apprenticeships website carries full details of what’s involved in the Trade Supplier Standard, including:

  • Overview of the role
  • Knowledge, skills and behaviours
  • Entry requirements
  • Assessment Plan

Catch up with one of the first Trade Supplier apprentices

Caption: Jonathan Grenfell (centre) is one of the first recruits onto the new Trade Supplier Apprenticeship Standard Level 2. He joined Edmundson Electrical Huddersfield in Spring 2018.  Jonathan is pictured here with his Profit Centre Manager, Dom Lorenzo (r), and Melvin Wright from Aston Training (l).

Aston Training is one of the training providers working with EDA Apprenticeships Plus. Jonathan’s recruitment and training is managed by our partners, EDA Apprenticeships Plus.

A job-focussed rigorous programme of training

The wholesaler employers who created Trade Supplier, the trailblazers, were led by the EDA and Chaired by Vicky Ordish, Learning and Development Business Partner with Rexel UK Ltd.

Vicky Ordish explains why the Trade Supplier is so important for the sector

“This one-year apprenticeship standard has been designed to train new recruits to become fully-rounded trade suppliers. It’s a comprehensive job-focussed rigorous programme of training entirely relevant to a wholesaler branch.

“Other apprenticeships focus either on the warehouse or the trade counter, but Trade Supplier includes training in both these areas as well as a strong focus on customer needs, giving new recruits a broader base of skills and knowledge from which to launch their careers.

“Trade Supplier also represents excellent value for money for wholesalers, with smaller businesses paying just 10% – that’s £400 – towards the cost of training and assessment. Businesses can also benefit from up to £1,000 in payments for taking on younger or disadvantaged apprentices.”

Pass, Merit or Distinction

As well as offering a breadth and depth of training, Trade Supplier also puts apprentices through their paces at the end of the 12 months through a half-day, end-point assessment. This involves a knowledge test, real-life practical observation and a professional discussion. Apprentices have an opportunity to be awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Trade Supplier is one of over 500 apprenticeship standards either approved or in development that will be available to employers following the radical reforms to apprenticeships in recent years. Standards will eventually replace the current frameworks and, following recent funding changes, apprenticeships now cover degree and post-graduate-level opportunities.

In demand

It is estimated that demand for Trade Supplier training from electro-technical wholesalers will be in the region of 500 apprentices a year.

If you’d like to know more about the EDA’s Apprenticeship Programme and the service from our partners EDA Apprenticeships Plus, please call the EDA on 020 3141 7350 or email our training inbox.

Introducing the employers behind Trade Supplier

Electrical Wholesale

Electrical Distributors’ Association: Margaret Fitzsimons, CEO
Rexel UK: Vicky Ordish, Learning & Development Business Partner and Chair of the Trailblazer Group; Crawford Flint, Head of

Learning & Development

R&B Star: Glenn Robertson, Director;
KEW Electrical: Nik Mulcahy, Operations Director;
Stearn Electric: Andrew Smith, National Account Manager;
LEW Electrical Distributors: Andy Johnson, Managing Director;
CEF: Chris Ashworth, General Manager, Hinckley Region
Edmundson Electrical: Matt Ward, Commercial Manager;
Lockwell Electrical: Tom Jones, Divisional Director.

Kitchens & Joinery

Howdens: Becky Roberts, Learning & Development Manager and Debbie Shandley, Advisor for Howdens and CEO The Real Apprenticeship Company;
Nobia UK: Julie Heathcote, Development Business Partner.

Builders’ Merchants

Builders’ Merchants Federation: Richard Ellithorne, Membership Services Director and James Spillane, Training and Development Manager;
Lawsons: Luci Pitt, Project & Training Manager
Parkers Building Supplies: Shelley Hodges, Learning & Development Manager; Grafton Merchanting GB: Adrian Rowley, Learning and Development Manager.


Department for Education: Sally Timmins, Employer Relationship Manager;
Pearson Awarding Organisation: Bryony Leonard, Sector Manager – Engineering, Manufacturing and Automotive;
EDA Apprenticeships Plus: (Apprenticeship Training Agency): John Henry, Director and Duncan Naylor, Director.