Training the next generation of superstar leaders

07 March 2017 -


Positivity, raw talent and enthusiasm. Developing your future managers through degree apprenticeships can be the ideal shortcut to giving your company to the skills and experience you demand most

Jermaine Haughton

As the cost of university education has surged, more and more school leavers are looking for alternative cost-effective ways to continue their education while building the right skills to suit the current and future job market, both home and abroad.

Apprenticeships are proving to be a ‘win-win’ for many employers and apprentices, hence why industry leading companies such as BT, Deloitte, Rolls Royce and BskyB offer several programmes, and research shows the number of under-25-year olds starting an apprenticeship has increased by a quarter between 2010 and 2015.

CMI’s Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship is a prime example of degree-level apprenticeships that invest in the development of young managers and the future leaders of the UK’s leading companies.

Developed by a group of 40 employers and universities, headed by Serco and supported by the CMI, individuals who complete the apprenticeship will earn a degree in management and business, and become a Chartered Manager – primed to take on significant management responsibilities.

Read More: All You Need To Know About The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship

For employers, the benefits are even wider. With a solid recruitment strategy, young degree apprentices can offer a cost-effective way to grow a workforce and give existing staff fresh impetus and opportunity to develop their own skills, such as in training and management.

Barclays is already reaping the benefits of its education programmes, with some of its apprentices having progressed to very senior roles within the organisation.

“We’re hugely supportive of the degree apprenticeship model,” said Mike Thompson, Head of Barclays’ Apprenticeship Programme.

Barclays’ degree apprenticeship is a very tailored programme because all tasks that the apprentices complete relate to the bank’s own business. Giving an example, Thompson said: “One of our undergraduates recently undertook a research project to look at diversity in Barclays and she produced a paper. The Head of Diversity Inclusion at Barclays liked it so much that he hired her. So now she has a full-time job developing our products and services to make them more accessible to our customers and to make us a more diverse organisation.”

Led by founder, former apprentice, and now Chartered Manager, Gavin Richardson, Opus Building Services has embraced young apprentices into its medium-sized organisation. The firm has employed 22 apprentices since its inception, and it has helped sustain its growth over the past ten years on its way to £10m of turnover.

Richardson believes that management training and qualifications boost perceptiveness, self-awareness and employees’ ability to manage and motivate other.

“I recognise that my managers are from the same background as me,” says Richardson, “so I want them to understand the benefits of management and leadership qualifications and how they allow my business to keep growing.”

Solving the productivity puzzle

According to the National Apprenticeship Service, almost every (96%) employer reports a benefit to their business when they have taken on an apprentice, while 72% have reported an increase in overall productivity.

Services Opus Building Services has already committed to developing talent and providing apprenticeship opportunities, and will continue to benefit greatly with the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship programme.

As well as resulting in a boost to skills and ability, Richardson believes that investing in staff development is essential to retaining staff in the longer term. “My competitors won’t be doing it or they’ll be watching and trying to catch up,” he said. “I prefer to be one step ahead.”

One of the great concerns of students (and their families) is whether apprenticeships hold similar weight in the job market as degrees. But the introduction of degree level apprenticeships has changed the landscape, showing a vocational qualification is also a highly-valued asset.

Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice Thomas Summerfield says he has flourished after being given the opportunity to work for automotive firm Pendragon Plc and hone his craft in the industry while still being able to study for a degree level qualification.

Working as a Service Advisor the 19-year-old said: “It’s a different route to the traditional university path that a lot of my friends have chosen, but this course is really setting me up for my future. I’m getting the rare opportunity to work at the UK’s leading automotive retailer, gain a degree in Business Management and Leadership from Nottingham Trent University and become a fully qualified Chartered Manager.

He added: “The degree apprenticeship is putting me ahead of other students who may come into a full time position after they graduate. Being able to work and study at the same time means I’m gaining a deep knowledge of the company and learning a range of vital skills, such as business acumen and a growing confidence in the workplace environment.”

Find out more about how apprenticeships can help your organisation flourish

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