Management Apprenticeships in Action

Raising Productivity and Delivering Economic Growth

Across 2022 and 2023, CMI commissioned two research projects focusing on employers who use management apprenticeships, to understand their value and the impact that they have on organisations and individuals. Working with two external research agencies - Quadrangle and Savanta - we interviewed 24 employers and 11 apprentices.

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.

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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.

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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.


Retention struggles

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.

Financial benefits

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.

Improving retention

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.

Progression routes

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.

Graphic created by Quadrangle

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.

Level Suited to
3 Team Leader/Supervisor - New employees and frontline managers who are keen to develop and progress their skills
5 Operations/Departmental Manager - Experienced managers or those in more complex roles, usually promoted for technical ability with limited formal management training
6 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
7 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

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