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Leadership and Management Apprenticeships Reality Check: The Works

The Works Apprenticeships

Leadership and Management Apprenticeships Reality Check: The Works

The apprentice levy has caused a revolution to the funding and structure of leadership and management development programmes. In truth, many clients and learners are still finding their way through this new world. To help organisations and their people navigate these waters, we wanted to hear from those on the programme. So we’ve started to ask the leadership apprentices. A couple of months ago I shared the experience of Apprentices from Automotive Engineering and Parts Manufacturer, Gestamp. This month I interviewed Leadership Apprentices from online and high street retail specialist “The Works”. This article documents their stories, providing insight for people thinking of starting an apprentice programme.

Growth and People

The Works plc is an instantly recognisable retailer, selling gifts, toys, books, stationary, hobbies, arts and crafts materials. Employing over 3,500 people, The Works have an established presence online and through their network of over 470 stores, many of which are on the high street.

At a time when many well-known high street retailers are suffering, The Works continues to post strong growth. Their performance is put down to their value for money offering, at a time when household budgets are feeling squeezed. However, its clearly not just products which are delivering the strong performance. Its their people too.

With so many stores and so many people, the roles of Area Sales Managers and Store Managers are pivotal. I met with several store managers and area sales managers who were part way through a Level 5 ILM Leadership and Management Apprenticeship.

Leadership Apprenticeship The Works

Career Ambitions and Challenge

It seemed to me that the type of people The Works chose to invest in a Leadership and Management Apprenticeship has certain qualities in common. When I asked some of the group about their motivation for applying for the apprenticeship, the same three words kept cropping up: Career, Ambition and Challenge.

“I want to progress, and I see the programme as a development tool to help my career move forward within The Works” – Sean

“It was a combination of wanting the progress and prove what I am capable of. I’ve spent time bringing up a family and now I want to catch up in the workplace. This programme gives me both development and career progression.” – Bryony

“I needed a new challenge, I’ve been working as an area training manager, but I knew I needed something more challenging.” – Anita

Each person struck me as being highly committed and motivated with the clear goal of progression set in their sights. They definitely had what some would call “the right stuff” to move forward up the leadership structure. The apprentice programme seemed to both tap into their existing motivation, but also spurred them on further. Sending this group of talented individuals looked like a very shrewd move for The Works. There seems little doubt that the investment would pay dividends for both the learners and the organisation alike.

What about the Programme Is it all Essays and Classroom?

I was keen to understand what their expectations were before the programme started and what their actual experience had been.

“I had no idea what to expect, which was probably a good thing. There is quite a lot of work to do and if I’d known that before-hand I might have talked myself out of it” – Anita

“I expected it to be more academic and classroom based than it actually is, and I’m glad it isn’t like that” – Darren

“I thought it would be more formal classroom learning. I thought it would be more essay writing and full on studying. But actually, its a lot less formal. Its more about gathering the evidence for what I do, but during the working day” – Bryony

The level 5 leadership apprentice programme, like other Dove Nest solutions, is built around blended learning: an approach that mixes different elements, to appeal to the full spectrum of learning preferences. Like the level 3 programme, this Leadership Apprenticeship Level 5 is a blend of classroom sessions, self-guided study with accompanying workbooks, additional learning resources, online tutor support, active line manager involvement, residential events, tutorials, one to one coaching sessions and work-based action learning sets.

Clearly, there seems to be a gap between what learners expect and reality. The blended approach seems to come to most learners as a pleasant surprise.

Leadership Apprenticeship The Works Event

Time Juggling

Like many other Apprentice programmes, learning is rooted in the reality of their actual work. Although parts of the programme require dedicated time away from the workplace, apprentices reflect and draw upon their experiences from work to provide evidence of their learning. The programme can be intense, especially as managers still have a store to run.

As we’ve seen with other groups of apprentices, the biggest challenge they report is that of managing their time. There is no short cut here: successful completion of the programme relies on Putting the hours in.

Thankfully, a large chunk of the 20% off the job learning time, is already built into the programme design. This makes life easier for apprentices. However, apprentices still need time away from normal duties to be able to get the most from the programme.

“Time has been a big challenge because we still have a business to run. I have a very good relationship with my manager, who supports my need for time spent studying. But it can be a big grey area for some” – Sean

“Time has been a big challenge. With a new team and new stores, its been quite a challenge. I’ve had to juggle work, family and moving to a new house. But Dove Nest have been very supportive” – Bryony

“The biggest challenge has been being organised and finding time. It’s a challenge because we still have a store to run alongside the programme. But I’m learning its about making the time for the programme and finding the right pattern that works for me” – Anita

Unfortunately, time is always going to be a challenge: we sadly cannot stretch it or make any more of it. But what we can do is coordinate better: linking up the stakeholders of Apprentice, Employer and Provider.

Freeing up the time necessary for the programme, whilst not abandoning all work duties completely isn’t just a pipe dream. Working together, apprentice, employer and provider can coordinate and collaborate on the differing demands: finding the right balance for each individual.

Putting Learning to Work

The proof of any programme is always measured in the difference it makes. Not only the personal difference, felt by the individual, but also the noticeable differences in how they work. On the subject of what they had learned or the difference the programme had made, everyone I spoke to reported improvements with concrete examples.

“Yes definitely, the programme has changed me. Its opened things up to me, both at work and personally. I’m now much more outgoing than I used to be. Much more comfortable engaging with new people I don’t know or haven’t met. Its really helped me to push myself” – Sean

“I stand back and think a bit more now, which is a good thing. I was apt to rush in, but now I take more time and am more considered in my approach. It helps me see the bigger picture” – Bryony

“The programme has absolutely changed me. I’m utilising the tools I’ve learned from the programme. In the past I might have taken a “stick a plaster on it” approach to problems. But now I’ve got the skill and ability to get to the root cause and really address the issue. And its working, I’m doing far less fire-fighting” – Darren

“Yes, its made me reflect a lot more and get more organised. I think about how I work. I’m the sort of person who delivers results, but it might not be in the most organised way. So I could be more organised. There’s a lot more planning and structure in what I do now” – Anita

As each person recounted their story of progress, change or improvement, a broad smile appeared on their faces. It was clear that they were proud of their progress. As the provider of their programme, I was proud for them too.

Leadership Apprenticeship The Works Group

Creating a Network of Emerging Leaders

Part of the Dove Nest approach to Leadership and management apprenticeships is learning as a cohort. Make no mistake, each apprentice has their individual learning plans, but the apprentice programme also puts great emphasis on learning as a group.

An intended benefit of the cohort learning approach is the way it stimulates and accelerates the development of an internal community of leaders.

“Getting together with other store managers has been really good. The communication and support between other managers is great.” – Anita

“Its amazing to have some time away from work, it does change your perspective. But also the time working with the team is excellent, I love the activities, particularly the problem solving.”  – Bryony

“Meeting people of the same mindset and aspirations. Its been fantastic meeting up with other store managers and comparing notes. I’m also quite competitive, so its good to be in an ambitious group where I can compare myself against the standards.” – Sean

I interviewed the group mid-way through their overall programme. But already it was pretty clear to see that they had bonded; coming together as a group. For some apprentices, the relationships forged in the programme will last well beyond the end of the course, potentially throughout their career. Creating this network of leaders has huge benefits for both the apprentices, their teams and the wider organisation.

Advice for Potential Apprentices

I’d like to thank Bryony, Sean, Anita and Darren for their time, candour and insight. Drawing together their experiences, what can we distill as advice for those thinking about starting a leadership apprenticeship.

Things to consider about starting an apprenticeship include:

The Time

Even with a well designed programme and sympathetic management, there remain significant investment the learner has to make in their time. There really is no substitute formula for success: effort in equals results out.

The Work

A Dove Nest programme is a blend of different learning styles, however there is still a significant amount of evidence that needs to be gathered. This will still require some written work, as well as documenting evidence. However, this doesn’t have to be an onerous task. Little and often can be preferable and more effective.

Communication

It sounds obvious, but communicating is critical. Before beginning a programme, Apprentices should talk to their line manager, their direct reports, their family and their apprentice provider. Then they need to keep talking to all of them. An apprentice programme isn’t a sprint, there will be natural ebbs and flows in the pace and workload. Keeping people in the loop can prevent problems and provides support.

The Benefits

Speaking to each of the interviewees on the programme, the benefits for each of them were tangible. There was no doubt in my mind that the apprentice leader development journey requires effort. But hearing about how the programme was already changing their confidence, behaviour and effectiveness, suggested that this was a journey was worth taking.

To talk about whether a leadership and management apprenticeship programme is suitable for your business, call us on 015395 67878, email us at enquiries@dovenest.co.uk.

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Leadership Apprenticeship Reality vs Expectations

leadership apprentice levy reality

Leadership Apprenticeship: Reality vs Expectations

There’s been a lot of discussion around the impact of the new apprentice levy. So much of it has been theoretical. We thought it was about time we asked some learners about their experience so far. Last month, I interviewed a group of learners from automotive parts supplier Gestamp Tallent, who are half- way through a Level 5 leadership and management programme. In this post I will share what can be learnt from their experience to date.

Growing Their Own Talent

Gestamp Tallent are one of the leading partners to the automotive industry. They have a long tradition of investing in their people, with their current UK CEO having worked his way up through the ranks.

As part of a 5-year development strategy, 25 employees began a new levy funded Leadership and Management Apprentice programme.  I spoke with Hannah Potter – UK training and development coordinator and asked her what was the inspiration for the programme?

“It’s about growing our own talent. We know we have great potential in the company and we want to develop the leaders of the future.”

What has the programme been like so far?

The programme has been designed around a blended learning approach. The Level 5 Apprentice programme mixes classroom sessions, self-guided study with accompanying workbooks, additional learning resources, online tutor support, active line manager involvement, residential events, tutorials, one to one coaching sessions and work based action learning sets.

Each person had their own preferred format. Some favoured the structure and support of classrooms and tutorials, whilst others preferred the self-guided approach working online with their accompanying workbooks.

 “The one to one coaching time we had here in Aycliffe worked really well for me. Steve (trainer) went through the workbook so I understood exactly what I needed to do and when.” – David

“When it comes to being alone with a text book, that’s not the best way for me. If it was all just going through the workbook, then I would be demotivated. I work best in classroom, group and one to one settings.” – Martin

The aim of our blended approach is to provide enough variety to appeal to a wide range of learning styles.

leadership apprenticeship reality

Standout Moment

The stand-out feature so far has been the residential session which is part of our leadership apprenticeship delivery model (this programme includes two 3-day residentials at one of Dove Nest’s two venues in the Lake District.) Whilst an apprentice programme doesn’t have to include a residential, Gestamp Tallent agreed that the potential benefits made including this essential for them. The belief was that participants would not only learn from the programme but also build a network beyond their immediate department and start to learn from each other. The response from participants was extremely positive.

“Being able to share knowledge and ideas with people from different areas of the business has been really good. Being away from the usual environment makes it even better. The residential and the one-day coaching / tutorial we had was great for this.” – Stuart

“Not only was it good fun, but it was also about getting to know people a lot better. You get to share how each plant does things, how they solve problems. Its now much easier to stay in touch with colleagues.” – Daniel

“What I really enjoyed was the more informal connections, getting to know other people on the programme in a less formal way was the best part.” – Lowri

Biggest Challenge is time

The content of the apprentice programme is demanding, challenging and stretching. But by far the biggest challenge for participants proved to be how they manage their time.

“The biggest challenge was time, managing it, juggling it between work, spending time with my kids, coaching the local football team. Its not about commitment, but more about balance.” – David

“The biggest challenge is time and staying on top of the deadlines. I have to set time aside to work on this. The Action Learning sets have been really good, but its easy to let them drop off, I get a lot from more structured time to work together and talk things through.” – Lowri

Learning whilst working can be a recipe for confusion, especially if the perception is that learning should fit round the day job. Lines often blur between what is expected at work, and what ends up being done outside working hours.

However, apprentice programmes are very clear – 20% of an employee’s contracted hours must be made available to complete their apprenticeship. Indeed, recording how apprentice time is utilised, forms part of the final end point assessment.

The potential difficulty then, for both apprentices and employers, is how to balance the different time requirements. Working with a structured programme provides a practical solution. A typical Dove Nest apprenticeship will consume between 50-60% of the required learning time. This is through a blend of face to face engagement, guided learning and self-study. Whilst this doesn’t cover all of the 20% required, it ringfences a significant chunk of this time. By building it into a structured programme, life is made a little easier for all.

A Host of Benefits

Despite the perceived challenges around juggling time, the benefits from the programme seem to be worth the investment in time and effort. In their own words, some of the participants describe the benefits they have realised on the programme so far:

Pride

“I think being selected, nominated was part of it. I know we want to develop the business so we have a stronger succession plan.” – David

 “Being selected for the programme was motivation in itself; being recognised.” – Martin

Mindset change

“I was initially sceptical. But then my mindset changed: I realised I could learn more from other people on the programme. Its about how much I put into it. You can’t expect all the information to come to you, from doing the bare minimum. You have to drive it yourself”. – Stuart

“It (the programme) has given me more confidence to step up and try things I probably wouldn’t have done in the past. Now I’m much more likely to put myself forward for something new. A good example was a project we are working on, there was a lack of data and information, so I stepped up to start gathering the data. It felt good.” – Daniel

Emotional Intelligence

“It has changed me for the better. It’s improved my softer skills. The plant manager Graham calls the changes out in me. Says specifically when I’m using some of the new skills, like ‘that’s you using your emotional intelligence’.” – David

Self-Awareness

“I definitely reflect more, take the time to think about how I do things. The 360-degree assessment and feedback was really valuable, made me think about how I approach things. Now I think more, plan more and reflect more.” – Lowri

 “I reflect more. More likely to take a step back and think about things. Now I talk less and listen more. I’ve stopped jumping in like I used to in the past. Less likely now to give people all of the answers, more likely to get them to answer the question for themselves.” – David

 

Leadership apprentice levy reality

Final Thoughts and Advice

In terms of research, interviewing just a couple of cohorts from the new apprentice programme does not represent a comprehensive or statistically robust sample size. However, there is still much that can be learned from hearing the experiences of participants first-hand.

For clients who are considering a levy funded apprentice programme, it is worth making sure that the expectations of participants, in terms of balancing work and learning are clear. For potential participants, it is worth considering the commitment and investment required in getting the best from the programme. But for both learner and employers, the anecdotal evidence to date suggests that benefits far outweigh the investment.

“Participants are definitely more self-aware. They understand how they come across. Its clear they put into practice what they have learned about behaviour and differences in learning styles.” – Hannah

To talk about whether a leadership and management apprenticeship programme is suitable for your business, call us on 015395 67878, email us at enquiries@dovenest.co.uk or visit our website at https://www.dovenestapprenticeships.co.uk/

 

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Ofsted and Apprentice Levy Learning: Blessing or Curse

ofsted apprentice levy advice

Ofsted and the Apprentice Levy – Blessing or Curse?

Ofsted inspections. These two words have been known to strike abject terror into the heart of the most able of teachers. Under the new levy system, apprentice providers can expect scrutiny from both Ofsted and the ESFA. So, is this a blessing or a curse? What can providers do to prepare themselves for the inevitable inspection?

An Inspector calls

ofsted apprentice levy advice

The introduction of the Apprentice Levy last year continues to bring about massive changes to the way learning and development is provided and assessed for some organisations. Employer providers, main providers and supporting providers are all subject to audit by the ESFA and inspection by Ofsted. Having teachers in my family, I’ve always been aware of the stress and strain associated with inspections. But I’ve never directly experienced it, or understood it.

 

The obvious question to ask is why? Why do inspections create such stress and anxiety? The answer could come down to three key elements: judgement, control and consequences.

In essence, none of us really likes to be judged. The prospect of being assessed on our performance at a snapshot in time, doesn’t seem fair or representative. We know this is true for learners, so it must be true for teachers and facilitators? Ofsted inspectors will want to see the evidence of learning, including observation of learning delivery. Even the most competent of us could feel slightly vulnerable under the gaze of inspection.

The second aspect is that of control. During an inspection, we can’t see into the inspector’s head and know whether it is going well or badly. Worse than that, although we have no control over their assessment, we are still responsible for it. To be responsible for something, but to have limited control or influence over it: can be a potential hell!

If all of this wasn’t bad enough, it gets worse! The consequences of inspection are real and significant. A good inspection can generate pride, enhancing professional credibility and creating reputations for excellence. Conversely, a bad inspection can mean the opposite: shame, perceived incompetence and potential commercial disaster.

Considering these three elements, its not surprising that those in Education respond with stress and anxiety when it comes to inspection time. There can be no doubt, that the same anxiety awaits new apprentice providers in the coming months. However, is there a potential upside to external audit and inspection?ofsted apprentice levy advice 3

The Potential Blessings

The main benefit of being answerable to Ofsted and ESFA is that of Quality Control. Assuring quality benefits in 3 important stakeholders: Learners, Client Organisations and Learning Providers

Learners – Without inspection, there would be no assurance of quality. No one would want to sign up to an apprenticeship, dedicating their time and effort over 1 to 3 years, only to discover that it was a substandard programme which left the learner with massive gaps in their skills and knowledge.

Client Organisations – The levy fund doesn’t directly “belong” to the client. But it is money they are entitled to spend on employee development. Organisations need to be confident that when they invest this money, they can be sure of an acceptable standard of quality in the programme.

Learning Providers – Whilst inspection and assessment has the potential to highlight what is poor, it also has potential to make the headlines about that which is outstanding. Feedback like this is like learning itself. Where learning providers can understand what is good and bad, then, just like their learners, they have the potential to develop and improve. A good Ofsted report can be used by the provider as a badge of quality and credibility. Good results have the potential to enhance reputations and attract more clients.

Ofsted for Apprentice Providers: 5 Ideas to Thrive rather than Survive

As the training world moves towards more formal assessment of quality of learning, here are 5 ideas to help get the best from the situation.

1 – Work each day as if its an inspection

Ok, this might sound a little trite, but there is some common sense here. If your team understand what inspectors will be looking for, and bring that into everyday delivery, then when the inevitable inspection comes, they will be more than ready.

2 – Keep the Evidence

Lots of providers are really good at what they do. The anecdotal evidence from learners and clients is glowing. But what Ofsted will want to see is….evidence and lots of it. Its no longer enough to know that you are good, you must be able to demonstrate the evidence to prove it. Providers will need to find ways to gather evidence across multiple areas, including: Leadership, quality of learning, personal development, welfare and learner outcomes.

3 – Check Progress

Providers need to demonstrate that learners are making progress. This means 3 things: a) knowing the starting point for learners when they begin, b) being able to track the progress they are making and c) making sure they realise the best outcome in terms of their personal progress.

4 – Technology

Technology shouldn’t be thought of as just part of the learning suite for apprentices. Technology can be essential in recording the all-important evidence. To be clear, technology should never be a substitute for assessment, but it can be used by providers to make recording, storing and reporting much easier and more effective.

5 – More Evidence

Yes, I am repeating myself, but it is well worth repeating. If you take away only one thing from this post, it should be that Apprentice Programmes mean Evidence. You can’t have too much of it, and you should never miss an opportunity to gather it.

Whether you are an employer, employer provider or supporting provider, talk to us about our Leadership Apprentice Programmes and our approach to learning through the levy.

Contact us today for free advice on turning the Levy into Learning, call us on 015395 67878, email mike.kitson@dovenest.co.uk or visit https://www.dovenestapprenticeships.co.uk

 

 

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How to Win the Apprentice Levy Lottery

Apprentice Levy Lottery

How to Win the Apprentice Levy Lottery?

Why is the apprentice levy at risk of being a lottery for both employers and employees? What steps can you take to improve the odds? Dove Nest provide 5 key tips to help stack the odds in your favour.

What are the Odds?

Since April 2017 the apprentice levy has changed the way many companies approach funded learning. Some organisations have embraced the change and employees have already begun levy funded programmes. Others have chosen to ignore it completely, continuing instead to opt for their own L&D budget funded programmes.

Whilst many more have become paralysed, overwhelmed and confused by the change as yet have not navigated a path through the complexity. For employers, how well they can take advantage of apprentice levy funded opportunities, remains something of a lottery.

Studying Form

As with any new system, it can take some time to become expert. The apprentice levy is no different. Access to the right information is key. Whilst the government provides general information, many organisations have specific questions that aren’t covered in the guidance. To get the best from the apprentice levy, its important to have the right partner. A training provider which is registered on the government ROATP will be able to provide invaluable answers and help navigate any confusion.

Avoiding the Hustle

The scale of investment in the apprentice levy fund is huge, estimated at £2.8bn by the end of 2018, rising to over £3bn by 2020. With such funds available, it is bound to attract the attention of potential providers who might be somewhat less than reputable. Already, some stories are emerging of “providers” promising to deliver clients “the moon and stars” using levy funds. The reality is that there are strict guidelines about what levy funds can and cannot be used for. There have also been reports back of providers using low pricing to secure business. As the levy funds don’t actually “belong” to a client, surely the value a provider can add is more important than what price is charged. We’ve put together 5 tips to help companies navigate the levy, to reduce confusion and avoid any potential pitfalls.

Stacking the Odds in your favour

These 5 key tips to getting the most from the apprentice levy

  1. Remember that levy funds aren’t just for “traditional” apprentices, funding can be used for anyone provided they are stepping up to a new position
  2. Work with an approved main provider from the ROATP list
  3. Share the knowledge, by talk with other professionals in your network, ask how they have approached the levy?
  4. Ask your provider for testimonials, reviews or examples of levy funded work
  5. Make sure your provider has all the assessment, selection, processes, systems and evidence in place needed for compliance and success

Backing A Sure Thing

Dove Nest has provided clients with Leadership and management development solutions for over 35 years. We have already started apprentice levy funded trailblazer programmes equivalent to ILM Levels 3 and 5. Dove Nest has been awarded main provider status for Apprentice Levy funded programmes and is listed on the ROATP.

Dove Nest has the capabilities in place for programme design, delivery, compliance and evidence needed to successfully complete an apprentice programme.

 

Win Apprentice Levy lottery

 

 

 

 

 

Hitting the jackpot: the triple whammy

Dove Nest levy funded programmes deliver for both employers and learners by delivering the triple whammy:

  1. Programme that is Apprentice Levy Funded compliant from an approved main provider
  2. A trailblazer programme that delivers an ILM qualification
  3. The opportunity to customise modules, bespoke to the employer, bringing theory to life through real-world examples from the business.

For more information about levy funded leadership and management apprenticeships, visit our website, call us on 015395 67878 or email us at mike.kitson@dovenest.co.uk

Turn the Levy into Learning

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Apprentice Levy: variety, culture, retention, succession and Leadership

Apprentice Levy: variety, culture, retention, succession and leadership

Apprentice Levy: variety, culture, retention, succession and leadership

We interviewed learning and development professionals, and asked them what they thought was the biggest opportunity in L&D. Not surprisingly, the apprentice levy came out as number one in the list of their top five.

Reassuringly, it seems that most L&D professionals are aware of the significance and potential impact from the levy. It’s the same message we have heard from many of our clients, and it is the inspiration behind two trailblazer leadership and management apprentice programmes we now run.

The Apprentice Levy is such a new subject, many people are still feeling their way through the information, requirements and opportunities. We’ve been posting regular advice on our apprentice site.

However, the focus on the apprentice levy does vary across organisations. Although the apprentice levy was ranked number one in terms of the top opportunities, it wasn’t at the top of the list for every company. This rather begs the question, “why isn’t the apprentice levy no1 for every organisation, what could be a bigger opportunity than that?”

Looking closer at the other opportunities that ranked in the list, gives us an indication of what the answers might be. Variety of learning, culture change, retention and succession and leadership and management, all featured in the top five list.

Variety of learning

The people we interviewed spoke about how technology and demand has led to an increasing diversity of learning options. So many different learning avenues are available to organisations and learners. With increasing variety should also come increasing choice and access. Some organisations saw access to the variety of learning available, as key to their success.

Culture Change

Culture change, ranked as the third biggest opportunity, which was not surprising as this remains a perennial issue for organisations. Here people we talked with spoke about “pushing behavioural change” and “making sure there was a sense of belonging”.

Retention and Succession

Retention and succession ties into this feeling of belonging, with respondents talking about “keeping talent inside the company” and reducing staff turnover. Perhaps this will be an increasingly important feature of organisations, given the characteristics of millennials and generation Z.

Leadership

The final opportunity within the top five was leadership, but specifically related to the development of front line managers. Here, people spoke about the requirement to improve the skills of first line management.

So, to return to the earlier question – “what could possibly be a greater opportunity than the apprentice levy?” Its appears that organisations are looking toward some of the more familiar areas of learning and development. Clearly these are all important areas, but does this mean they should be prioritised ahead of the levy?

Apprentice Levy: Linking culture, retention, succession, leadership and variety.

Maybe its not an either-or situation: perhaps there are opportunities to address several opportunities at once. Apprentice levy funded leadership and management programmes, have the potential to tick more than one opportunity box.

An apprentice programme doesn’t only support the development of the individual. It can also support the promotion of wider culture change in an organisation. Understanding the importance of culture, values and behaviour should form an essential part of any leadership and management apprentice programme. As an example, Dove Nest’s leadership and management programmes, mapped to ILM levels 3 and 5, have these themes running as a thread throughout the programme.

In terms of developing front line management, an apprentice levy funded programme in leadership and management provides a clear solution. Investing in the development of front line managers, has obvious pay offs for improving the professionalism and skills of this important management layer. In addition, it also has the potential to improve retention and help develop a succession plan.

An apprenticeship programme can form part of a solid foundation from which the potential managers of the future can be identified and coached. Investing in an individual by supporting them through a management apprenticeship, has implications for retention, as it sends a clear message to that person of how valued they are by the organisation.

On the issue of the variety of learning avenues and access to different learning tools, this can also tie into the apprentice levy. A good apprenticeship provider should give clients and learners access to a diversity of learning materials. Some of the best programmes take a blended approach to learning, including: self-guided learning, theoretical understanding, experiential events, reflective learning, coaching and collaboration, all of which will be supported with enhanced online and mobile learning portals.

In summary, it is no surprise that the apprentice levy comes in at pole position in terms of opportunities for organisations. The other areas in the top five remain the perennial issues which organisations face. Working with the right learning partner, organisations have the potential to address several opportunities, in one fell swoop.

For advice of leadership and management Apprenticeships,  questions on the Levy, or solutions to development challenges, please get in touch either by calling us on 015395 67878, email us at enquiries@dovenest.co.uk or visit our dedicated website www.dovenestapprenticeships.co.uk