Apprenticeships: An Underrated and Affordable Leadership Development Path

6 October 2021

When we explore our customers' management and leadership development challenges, the learning solutions we design and deliver to address them tend to be a combination of short duration skill courses and longer programmes. Programmes deliver greater breadth and depth of development over a longer term and, in many instances, are tiered, aligning with the requirements of role and level.

In this context, Management Apprenticeship standards and their associated development programmes have been designed to include the comprehensive knowledge and skills relevant to the roles and challenges of Operations/Departmental Managers and Team Leaders/Supervisors, as well as the contemporary skills that are deemed necessary in the 21st Century workplace. So, when searching for talent management and workforce development support, many of our learning partners have readily incorporated this development option in support of developing their existing employees.

When taking the temperature of the UK learning and development market, we see much discussion about the extent and demands of management apprenticeships' course content and the required hours of development to be undertaken in the workplace. However, what should be recognised and highlighted is that these are vocational programmes, with quality learning pathways designed for occupational roles and needs. They are equipping learners with substantive competencies, as well as the confidence to practically apply them in ways that will address the productivity and performance failures widely recognised in the UK business landscape; attributable to the skills gaps and challenges of 21st Century leadership and management.

 The programmes are proven to:

  • Deliver the contemporary skills required by a 21st Century workplace
  • Develop professional behaviours
  • Modernise the mindset
  • Build occupational competence, capability and capacity
  • Directly apply relevant theory to real-life management situations and challenges
  • Embed learning and development into day-to-day work
  • Drive improvements in operational performance, team productivity & service outcomes

In addition to this, we believe more positive mention should be made of the funding mechanism. The Apprenticeship Levy has created the opportunity for every organisation to access and leverage affordable, significant and strategically important leadership and management development programmes, delivering the above business value and benefit.

In terms of people development, it doesn’t get much more challenging and prestigious than that for management and leadership roles and responsibilities. Programmes of development of this quality and with the breadth, depth and characteristics noted above, often come with a serious price tag. Even before the current climate of business uncertainty and squeezed budgets in many sectors, that price was worth paying.

However, given the post-pandemic challenges of managing continued uncertainty and driving business recovery, we don’t think there a leadership development solution that provides a better business case for delivering a return on resource and time investment. Leveraging the Levy (whether your organisation pays it or not) enables access to the Team Leader/Supervisor Level 3 and/or Operational/Departmental Level 5 Management Apprenticeship programmes. Many organisations have already taken business advantage from this opportunity and many more are about to. The market requirement has resonated with these standards, resulting in them both being in the overall Top 10 for apprenticeship programme starts since 2017.

The time investment (i.e. programme length and 'off the job' hours) sometimes holds people back from exploring management apprenticeships, but these occupational programmes would not be able to bring about the fundamental changes in knowledge, skills and behaviours without it. Our programmes for both Level 3 and 5 are highly dependent on, and aimed at, learners’ unique workplace challenges and priorities. They equip them with the capacity to face down their varied management challenges and evidence the profound shifts in their ways of working that we are aiming to bring about, and organisations want to see.

Many organisations are yet to draw down, use and receive effective return on their pot of Apprenticeship Levy funds. These management development programmes can be funded by it! We can also comprehensively support you, providing reporting and administration, drawing funds directly from the ESFA and leaving you, our apprentices’ employer, with minimal administration to do.

Having been developed by large employers like Barclays, HMRC and Sainsbury's in collaboration with the professional awarding bodies ILM and CMI, the contemporary skills and learning imparted by these standards encompasses everything a modern manager needs to thrive in their leadership role. The programmes deliver high value development to industry-required and nationally-recognised Standards.

 The knowledge, skills and behaviour are spread across three key stages:

  1. Personal Effectiveness: managing self

  2. Interpersonal Excellence: managing people and developing relationships

  3. Organisational Performance: delivering results

To learn more about the learner experience on our programmes, you can read interviews with two (now completed) management apprentices here and here. You can also read feedback from learners' line managers here and here.

With a small investment on top of Levy funds, we can use our ILM Approved Centre status to include a professional management qualification for your learners, something many of our customers choose.

So, what’s holding you back? Join the organisations that are investing their apprenticeship Levy in high quality skills development for existing managers and leaders by enquiring with us now!

We have a variety of programmes, at both Levels 3 and 5, to suit your requirements, including:

  • National 'open' programmes bringing learners together virtually
  • Regional 'open' programmes including face-to-face delivery
  • 'Closed' programmes just for your managers, with the potential for contextualisation around your values and culture

We're sure you'll have questions, so the first step can be an informal, exploratory chat to understand your requirement and answer your queries.

We look forward to hearing from you soon

Our accreditations, affiliations and certifications

CMI ILM Approved Centre Apprenticeships Iosh Agored Cymru SGS ISO 14001 SGS ISO 9001 Cyber Essentials Certifed Plus
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