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Duration (approx) 1500 hours
Qualification Associate Diploma


Start a Career in Business Here

  • Prepare well to start up your own business.
  • Seek employment as a manager in an established business.
  • Lay a foundation to become a business manager, writer, consultant and/or teacher.
  • Study: Business Studies, Business Planning, Financial Management, Project Management, Workplace Health and Safety, Introduction to Psychology, Industrial Psychology, Supervision I,II & III, Sales Management, Advertising and Promotions, Marketing Systems, Research Project I plus 100 hours of industry meetings.

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Develop expert knowledge in Business

The potential for success in business is less risky if you know what you are doing.

  • Learn more about running a successful business.
  • Develop your knowledge of a wide range of areas key to the running of business.
  • Learn about planning and managing a business.
  • Learn more about how to manage projects - develop an understanding through the course of planning, logistics, finance and more.
  • Staff play an important part of the success of any business, through your studies you will gain an understanding of how to manage staff more effectively.
  • No business can survive if no one knows about their products - learn about pricing and promoting your products and more.
  • Project elements within the course will test your knowledge and your thought processes as you study.
  • Hone the qualification to areas of particular interest to you with your choice from our Elective Module options.
  • Study at your own pace with help from our highly qualified tutors - individuals with academic knowledge backed by real-world experience.
  • To successfully be awarded the Associate Diploma qualification you will need to pass the assignments found at the end of each module, and pass exams on 13 modules (the Research Project and Workplace Project are assessed on the project work completed for these modules). Please note exam fees are payable in addition to the course fee.


This course requires you to complete 15 modules; making up approximately 1500 hours of study, which you can undertake on a full or part-time basis as suits you.

The modules are listed below. Please follow the links in the module titles for more specific details on each one.

Core Modules

Students are to complete all the Core Modules, as listed below.

Elective Modules

In addition to the Core Modules, students are to study 4 modules, selected from the following:

Module Outline Summaries

Business Studies
This is the starting point, providing a solid foundation for everything else.

Business Planning
Businesses fail because they do not plan. There are certain things that should always be planned for; and systematic proved ways to plan. This module develops a better capacity to plan, and in turn, develop a better capacity to manage business.

Financial Management
Learn how to make your cash work for you and slash your expenses. This module teaches you to take charge of your finances by getting better deals when spending, borrowing or investing. There are more opportunities than you may realise. You will learn important financial terminology and gain an insight into how money works. We will show you how to make the most of what you have got. This module is extremely relevant for both individual/personal and small business financial management.

Project Management
Project Management is a skill which is important in all industries and in all sorts of situations. A great project manager is a valuable asset to any company. They understand how to keep a project on time and on budget. Develop your skills in planning, strategy, leadership, conflict management and much much more. This module is just as relevant to any type of project, from construction to events or managing a new product launch.

Introduction to Psychology
Develop your ability to analyse aspects of a persons psychological state and apply derived knowledge to motivate that person. This provides a solid introduction/foundation for further studies of psychology covering such things as the nature and scope of psychology, neurological and environmental effects on behaviour, personality, consciousness, perception, needs, drives and motivation.

Industrial Psychology
Develop an understanding of how the psychological state of employees in the workplace, affects both their work, and their overall well being.

Personnel Management
This module will develop the student’s ability to carry out the various tasks associated with managing personnel, such as recruitment, training and controlling. Emphasis is placed on knowledge and methods that will improve workplace morale and productivity.

Marketing Foundations
Marketing is the cornerstone of most modern businesses. Lack of marketing knowledge is frequently the reason why a good business concept does not succeed. This module deals with all aspects of marketing from presentation and packaging, to advertising and selling, developing in you an acute awareness of what is needed to achieve and maintain a good market share.

Workplace health and safety
Accidents in the workplace are not only a dramatic event for all the people involved, but also a legal nightmare, highly disrupt work and can be significant unnecessary costs. By identifying risks and either avoiding them or preparing contingencies to deal with accidents, a workplace can reduce the frequency of accidents and greatly minimise any problems when one does occur.

Research Project I
Choose an industry that interests you and explore the research needs of an organisation in a real workplace setting. You will learn how to plan a research project and how to implement your plan in order to maximise the value of the information you collate. You will then use this information to produce a descriptive report that could be very valuable to the development of the organisation’s business and operational practices.

Workplace Project
To complete this qualification, you are also required to complete a workplace project lasting 100 hours. 

There are 4 options available to you to satisfy this requirement.  The options will be different dependent upon whether or not you currently work within the industry. The project can be work experience, voluntary experience, a project you carry out, other training you have already undertaken and there are other options.  Don’t worry if you are not sure how to proceed at this stage, as your tutor will be there to discuss how to proceed and will help you every step of the way.

Embrace Change and Your Opportunities will be Endless

Businesses today operate in a very different market place to in the past. The biggest difference is the rate of change. 

In a world that changes fast, it isn't a viable option to develop a way of operating that works and assume that same way will function equally well for you over the coming years.

People today are continually changing what they buy, how they buy it and who they buy from. There is greater competition between businesses than ever; but the world is more affluent and there are potentially more customers than ever before.

If you can learn to adapt rapidly to change; and see change as an exciting opportunity; there are unlimited business opportunities on offer.

You can never have control of everything in your business. There are some things that you can control in your business. Take time to review what your business can control – for example your product, staff, your own time, and so on – and make sure that you have systems in place to control these factors. For example, to control your own time you may need to schedule in time to go over financial records once a month, as well as schedule a regular slot for exercise or to meet friends. To control your staff you may need to write specific tasks that need to be completed in a particular job role and employ and train people to complete those tasks. 

There are also things that the business will not have control over, such as market forces, some of what their staff do, how technology and products change, what customers want, recessions, and global markets. Whilst you may not be able to control these, it is important to develop strategies to manage these things. For example, you may spend a certain amount of time each week analysing what is happening in your market to identify issues that may need to be addressed. A simple online search looking at your competitors and how they are marketing their products can give you new ideas for your own business. We don’t mean copy what other businesses are doing, but their ideas may spark new ideas in you.

Harnessing Social and Market Trends

You will need to be aware of how social trends and market trends change.

  • What are social trends? Social trends are tendencies that societies show. These can be long standing or temporary. For example, there is a current trend for people to use social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. At the moment, we do not know if this will be a relatively short term or long term trend, though all the indications are that it is here to stay, and evolve.
  • What are market trends? Market trends are a tendency within the market to move in a particular direction over time. This can include current trends and fashions. For example, there may be a change in the way that women buy clothes. They may start to order 80% of their clothes online rather than going to physical shops. This would be a market trend as it shows the changes in how people are shopping.

Market trends will vary from industry to industry. There may be a trend generally for people to buy more things online, but this will not affect all industries. For example, coffee shops, cake shops or restaurants are not likely to offer online purchases, so their customers are not likely to start buying online. However, this trend towards using the internet can affect business.

For example, Restaurant A may offer a facility where customers can book a table online, whilst Restaurant B may require potential customers to phone to book a table or pop into the restaurant.  Restaurant A may find the online booking facility works well or it may not.

Also, a coffee shop might allow customers to buy coupons or vouchers online which can be redeemed in store. It is therefore important to be aware what different options are available which could be used to tap into, and make the most of, market and social trends.

How do you learn more about social and market trends?

The answer is to do your research.  It is important to be up to date in your industry.  

  • Read journals about your industry 
  • Look online at articles and websites
  • Networking – talk to other people with similar businesses to you, what are they doing? What do they know?
  • Stay ahead of the competition through research and networking
  • Look at related industries and businesses - focussing only on your own area of expertise can be good, but it can also mean that you miss other potential business opportunities and knowledge. For example, a new product may come out that would really sell well with the products you offer. 
  • Maybe consider a joint advertising campaign with a complementary rather than competitive business – this could work well for both businesses. Consumers identify with a range of products relating to different needs. For instance, an ice cream manufacturer could team up with a sunglasses designer.

Knowledge is Power

If you do not have the knowledge, or know how to apply it, the chances of running a business successfully become severely limited.

Studying the Associate Diploma in Applied Business is designed to equip you with the right knowledge and develop your ability in being able to draw on, and apply, that knowledge.

The course has been carefully developed to provide you with the tools you will need to give you a depth of understanding of business, and the potential to succeed.

You study by distance learning, choosing when and where you study. The course includes practical elements for you to apply your learning as you progress through the course.

You can enrol on the course at any time. If you have any questions, or would like to know more - please get in touch with our specialist Business and Management tutors today. They will be pleased to answer your questions and look at different study options to suit you.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Towergate Insurance welcomes Professional Liability insurance applications from ACS graduates across all disciplines. Click here for more details.

Meet some of our academics

Sarah RedmanOver 15 years industry experience covering marketing, PR, administration, event management and training, both in private enterprise and government; in Australia and the UK.
David CrothersChartered Accountant with 20 years experience in corporate and financial roles. David has a FCA, GAICD, B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA. Extensive international experience in business and finance.
Kate Gibson B.Soc.Sc.15+ years experience in HR, marketing, education & project management. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia.
Bob James B.Sc.,M.Env.Mgt.Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC, M.Enviro.Mgt.

Check out our eBooks

Saving Your BusinessMost businesses fail; but failure is more often than not avoidable. This book shows you how to quickly get a handle on what is wrong, take action, and give a shaky business the best chance of resurgence.
Marketing PsychologyThe Marketing Psychology ebook will provide you with an understanding of the psychology behind the consumer decision making process. With 52 pages of insight into marketing psychology and consumer behaviour, this ebook help you understand consumers much more effectively. Marketing psychology is about understanding people’s purchasing behaviour and applying that understanding to the advertising, marketing and ultimately the selling of products or services.
Business OperationsA text book for business students, or a guide book for anyone operating a business. Six chapters: Daily Challenges of Running a Business, Managing People, The Law, Fiance, Product Management and Risk Management.
Starting a BusinessBusinesses don't need to fail! This is concise, easy to read, and alerts you to all of the things that commonly make a difference to business success or failure. Seven chapters are: “A Reality Check”, “The Product or service”, “Managing a Business”, “How to Find Customers”, “How to Make a Sale”, “Delivering the Product or Service”, “Pitfalls to Avoid”.