AS BUSINESSES look to skill their workplace leaders of the future, we caught up with Matthew Knowles, Head of Operations at NILE management academy, to talk about this new and unique initiative set up to reshape leadership and management training.

Tell us about NILE?

NILE is the leadership and management arm of Progress to Excellence Ltd, set up to change the way commerce and industry meet their leadership challenges and fill their skills gaps.

The academy stands out from any other training provision for Leadership and Management apprenticeships because it’s designed around an L&D function. NILE can compliment, replace or even implement a company’s internal management training programme with the added benefit that all training comes with highly-recognised and sought-after qualifications. All of the training can be funded through the Apprenticeship Levy, by co-investment or by paying commercially.

Where did NILE’s unique approach to apprenticeship delivery come from?

NILE was created as the direct result of feedback from employers, students and my own experiences as a tutor. The “tick box approach” took away the value of an apprenticeship and became more about the certificate than learning. We also found that, after completing a qualification, people would still need to go away and study for further qualifications to make them more employable or that employers would have to fund more industry-specific training.

This is not how it should be and, with the introduction of standards, we took the opportunity to include the types of training people and organisations would often have to do after completing an apprenticeship – the training that would usually involve more time and money.

How does NILE stand out in a training environment where many other providers, many larger than NILE, offer the same apprenticeships?

NILE is unique as no other training provider offers the same apprenticeship package; this is the reason why we stand out.

The same standards - Team Leader/Supervisor Level 3 and Operations Manager Level 5 - are offered by many providers and are generic. However, it’s what we embed within these standards that makes NILE unique.

We’ve taken feedback from employers and apprentices, identified gaps where apprenticeship and commercial training does not commonly align with skill requirements and then built our standards around these requirements. 

To meet skills gaps across the country, we have embedded the ILM Diploma, PRINCE2 or Lean Six Sigma project management training, accredited Microsoft Office training, LEADr Certificate in Commerciality and My Money. 

Why does NILE include these courses when none is a requirement for a student to pass the standard?

An effective and confident manager needs the skills not only to lead, support and inspire people but also to understand how to use IT software packages, such as Microsoft Office, and to understand commercial business as well as project management, such as managing long-term tasks involving multiple departments and a multitude of people.

The My Money course is focused on the individual student. Personal finance is a leading cause of stress so this is aimed at helping managers become more confident in managing their own money. Such training results in people being competent across a broad range of management areas of responsibility, thus creating impact in their future role as a leader.

NILE courses directly support the units of the standard. By completing them, students will obtain a greater in-depth understanding of core topics in preparation for their End-Point Assessment.

Our industry experts delivering NILE training are highly skilled in finance, project management and IT. Embedded online training packages are also designed by experts in their particular fields, meaning that all NILE apprentices receive high level tutoring and training in every module of their apprenticeship.

Do these add-on courses cost extra?

No, there are no extra costs. At present, the maximum funding band for Level 3 is £5,000 and for Level 5 it’s £9,000. NILE charges £4,500 for Level 3 and £7,500 for Level 5, with all of the added value courses included. However, these costs may increase or decrease if an employer has specific requirements.

NILE’s embedded elements are also flexible; one or all can be removed and/or replaced with alternatives as long as they are relevant to the diploma and standard.

Matthew Knowles, Head of Operations at NILE management academy

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