The future of professional management: new research

04 March 2016 -


UKCES showcases innovative management and leadership training programmes that are developing the next generation of professional managers

Matt Scott

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) revealed today the extent to which management and leadership training can make a difference to businesses as part of its UK Futures Programme.

The commission provided co-funding for seven trailblazing projects aiming to boost productivity through improved management and leadership in supply chains and networked organisations.

One of those projects was run by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG), and provided modular training for a Certificate in Practice Management for legal professionals.

Some 24 participants took part in the course, with 17 achieving more than 60%; the level required to be awarded the certificate. The successful trainees were also enrolled as members of CMI and employers reported that trainees had made an ‘increased contribution to the operational or strategic direction of the business after the course’.

Carol Storer, who worked on developing and implementing the LAPG project, said the training was also scalable for other professions.

“Is it scalable to other professions? Yes - to lawyers across the board, to accountants and to doctors,” she said. “We’ve just received funding from a collaboration of charitable funders to take on learnings from some courses they’ve been funding.”

She also confirmed that LAPG was running two more courses during 2016.

Apprenticeship levy is an opportunity

Speaking on a panel at a launch event for the findings in central London, CMI director of strategy Petra Wilton said such projects have proven to be an excellent test-bed for improving management and leadership skills in SMEs, but that businesses now need to take advantage of upcoming changes to apprenticeships to capitalise on the opportunities they are being presented with.

“Going forward we have what could be called the ‘Age of Apprenticeships’ and the new apprenticeship levy,” Wilton said. “We need to look at ways to utilise that levy funding and that £15,000 allowance for small businesses effectively.

“That’s quite a big question, and some of that funding could potentially be used to keep these wonderful pilots going by developing collaborative group apprenticeships for SMEs.”

As part of the apprenticeship revolution taking place in the UK, CMI has supported employers in the development of a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship that awards apprentices with both a degree and Chartered Manager status upon graduation.

UKCES commissioner and BAE Systems group managing director Nigel Whitehead said such accredited qualifications can be incredibly important in the workplace, if they are presented in the right way to employees.

“If we communicate to our workforce that qualifications or accreditation is important, then they will believe it is important,” he said. “Employers have to start by working out what is important and communicating it.”

Whitehead added that BAE Systems had an issue whereby he couldn’t advertise a job that required an applicant to be a Chartered Engineer because he did not have enough Chartered Engineers already in his workforce.

Whitehead worked hard to get a large proportion of his engineers chartered, meaning he can now add it to the job description and demonstrate the importance of accreditation to a career with BAE Systems.

“For decades we had not told people that being a Chartered Engineer was important,” he said. “[Having the requirement on the job description now] sends out a huge message to the organisation saying if you’re not chartered then you are going to miss out.

“That same model applies to management training and any form of accreditation.”

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