Working in business with GCSEs (or similar)

Business jobs at this level are available in most organisations, including financial services, manufacturing and retail, national and local government, water and energy suppliers, healthcare and charities.

You can start work straight from school or college as a trainee administration assistant, receptionist or in a clerical job. You will be expected to have a good level of IT skills or to take relevant training, for example in word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software.

Example jobs

Trainee administrative assistant
Carrying out straightforward office-based tasks under supervision, such as filing and copying documents.

Office junior
Carrying out office duties such as sorting the post, ordering stationery and answering the phone, perhaps making tea or coffee, passing on messages and running errands.

Data entry
Updating, maintaining and retrieving information held on computer systems.

Receptionist
The first point of contact for an organisation, which could be a business, school, hospital, sports centre, etc.

Audio typist
Producing typed documents by listening to verbal recordings.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Typical working conditions

  • Work is usually office-based and is often busy and fast-paced.
  • You will work with computers and other office equipment such as telephones, photocopiers and printers.
  • You will use admin systems to help the organisation run smoothly.
  • Typical working hours are Monday to Friday, 35 to 40 hours per week. It may be possible to work part time.

Qualifications needed

You will usually need GCSEs in maths and English, as well as basic ICT skills.

Business-related and language qualifications can be useful.You may be able to undertake an intermediate Level 2 apprenticeship, for example in business administration, reception or customer care.

Career path

It is possible to work your way up the ladder with experience and by undergoing training. Promotion prospects are better in larger companies. Further training such as advanced apprenticeships at Level 3 can lead to technician or supervisory level jobs. You may progress to a role such as administration executive, administration officer, administration team leader, personal assistant (PA) or secretary, perhaps in a specialist field such as legal or medical secretary.

Useful links

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National Careers Service

Read profiles for jobs in business, like administrative and clerical work

Skills CFA

Find out about the skills you need for business-related jobs

The National Apprenticeship Service

Information and advice about becoming an apprentice