What Challenges do Businesses Face?
Both studies showed a series of recurring challenges for businesses across multiple sectors, resulting in a difficulty to adapt to changing landscapes and maintain competitiveness.
Managerial bad practice and accidental managers
Across industries, people tend to be promoted into management positions without the necessary training, leading to poor management culture.
Increasing skill gaps
Through a lack of training and upskilling in a changing landscape, organisations are struggling to adapt and ensure employees have the right skills.
Lack of a diversified workforce
Certain industries in particular are finding they have a very homogenous workforce causing problems for succession planning, growth and innovation.
Employers are increasingly struggling with retention with employees demanding more investment in training and development.
The benefits of Management Apprenticeships
Upskilling existing employees
Apprentices in the Quadrangle research highlighted improvements in skills such as communication, leadership, organisation and confidence. Charlotte, who completed both her Level 3 and Level 5 apprenticeship with Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network, talked about how the scheme has enabled her to be more reflective and politically astute, improving her business acumen, presentation skills, and financial management.
Management apprenticeships have profound positive effects on organisations, including through implementing cost-saving measures and bottom-line impact. Diamond Hard Surfaces, estimated 10% of administration time was saved thanks to their apprentice Sally’s work on streamlining and digitising the company’s resource planning system. Another apprentice, Brooke, was estimated to have made an impact of over £200,000 on the bottom line of company Broadley Speaking throughout her time on the programme.
Diversifying the workforce
Through the recruitment of new hires from a more diverse talent pool, organisations are bringing new skills, perspectives, and talents to innovate, upskill, and prepare for the future. Whether this be opportunities for education leavers, those re-entering the workforce or for people with particular characteristics. At Travis Perkins, 38% of the management apprenticeship cohorts identified as female compared to 12% who joined through more “traditional” entry level routes.
Multiple employers spoke about how management and leadership apprenticeships at Level 3 & 5, but particularly Level 3, had more benefit for the company – upskilling employees and improving management practices, whilst management and leadership apprenticeships at higher levels (particularly Levels 6 and 7) were key for retaining senior talent, by investing in key personnel.
Improving Management Quality
Training employees with practical, on-the-job experience can help them develop the skills they need in-line with organisational values, as well as acting as role models for better management skills. One apprentice, Jacintha, shared how she improved her mentorship and line-management, helping her to support new team members who have, in turn, been promoted.
Micronclean set up their Level 3 apprenticeship scheme in 2017, and have seen progression and promotion for between 60-70% of participants, showing how these apprenticeships can prepare employees effectively for promotion opportunities. Another apprenticeship provider shared that previously, it would have taken an employee 15 years to move from an entry level role to branch manager, whereas their apprentices are seeing this change in around 6 years.
Visualising the benefits
There were a series of benefits shared across the two studies, providing tangible and intangible benefits for both businesses and apprentices alike. Tangible benefits are those that can be measured such as financial impacts, recruitment and retention statistics, or pay rises. Intangible impacts are those that can be felt such as employee morale or soft skills such as confidence.
Who are Management Apprenticeships for?
Management Apprenticeships are opportunities for new and existing managers to learn and develop new skills and apply them straight into the workplace through a combination of on-the-job experience and off-the-job learning.
|Team Leader/Supervisor - New employees and frontline managers who are keen to develop and progress their skills
|Operations/Departmental Manager - Experienced managers or those in more complex roles, usually promoted for technical ability with limited formal management training
|Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship - Middle and senior managers, providing a degree alongside their apprenticeship training to those who may not have previously had the opportunity
|Senior Leader Apprenticeship - Senior team leaders to improve strategic leadership skills, with a focus on working at a higher organisational level and providing clear and inclusive leadership
We had a number of colleagues who had not been able to access degrees earlier in life and they were therefore really grateful for the opportunity to do degree level education within an apprenticeship at Co-op fully funded, at this stage in their career.
Louise Timperley, Apprenticeship Manager, Co-operative Group
That cultural change...approaching a problem differently...that much more coaching and mentoring type of style...ripples back out to empower people and allows individuals around them to grow as well.
Sarah Jane Marcello, Apprenticeship Network Manager, Hackney Council
The talent pool that we got access to, we would never otherwise have access to. They were incredibly bright, incredibly gifted people, they just didn’t have the privilege that a lot of people who would typically end up in banking technology have.
Apprenticeship Manager, Privately Owned Bank
We’ve had people my age who when they go through the first assessment have a reading age of 10 but they’re senior managers. It’s amazing when you talk to people who have gone through that experience, often very clever people, but they have limited reading and maths skills. It’s life changing. As an organisation we would fight tooth and nail to keep that requirement in because we see the benefit on adult learners who might have been failed by the education system.
Andy Rayner, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Travis Perkins plc
I think the more a colleague moves through the levels the more return on investment the business gets as they progress through from… three to five and six. And I know, for example, a level seven programme has really heightened and deepened the strategic thinking of the leaders who have been involved. They have brought new ideas to the table and to the business. So, yes, I would say the impact on the individual is strong all the way through, but the impact on the business is more recognisable the higher up the levels that we go.
Louise Timperley, Apprenticeship manager, The Co-operative Group
I was able to see things on the apprenticeship course play out in the real world, so I would learn something at university, and then see the exact thing play out at the workplace, therefore I would be able to advise my managers and other colleagues on different approaches we could take to tackle some of those issues.
Mozammil Ramzan, Programme Manager & Level 7 Management Apprentice, NHS England
It enables you to be much more prepared to face whatever challenges come your way during your day-to-day management running your team.
Christian Nnabugwu, Senior Head of Science Department & Level 3 Management Apprentice, Harris Academy Peckham
That cultural change that is given by approaching a problem differently, or a management situation differently, again, it’s, kind of, forcing that ripple effect of change. So, rather than micromanaging that happens quite a lot in accidental managers, that much more, kind of, coaching and mentoring type of style of management and leadership is obviously taught within CMI programmes, and then that ripples back out to empower people and it allows individuals around them to grow as well.
Apprenticeship Network Manager, London Borough Council
We recognised her potential to get to a degree even though she didn’t go to university… She is very well thought of in the organisation and very capable with significant strengths... She has raised her game. It’s increased her capability and what she can tackle. She can do things now that she couldn’t have done before
Anne Gornall, Executive Director, Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network
Case Studies and Resources
Below you can find the case studies from both the 2022 and 2023 research projects, alongside the findings from each set of case studies. You can read more on our Apprenticeship Levy work in the articles below.