From education to employment

Grant Thornton and Activate Business School launch new leadership and management apprenticeship

Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP and award-winning management training provider Activate Business School have formed a partnership to develop and deliver a new Management Apprenticeship Programme. The new programme, available to all companies in England, will help employers to develop their employees’ skills to become successful managers and future leaders.

The new partnership combines Activate Business School’s expert knowledge of skills development with Grant Thornton UK’s commercial knowledge and professional expertise. Grounded in practical application, the programme provides the skills, tools and techniques required for people to develop their capability as team leaders and operational managers.  

Aligned to the Level 3 and Level 5 management apprenticeship standards the programme is designed to equip future and current team leaders with the necessary management skills to both progress their own career and lead effective, productive teams.  

For employers, the costs of the programme are accessible.  Larger employers are able to utilise their Apprenticeship Levy to pay whilst smaller employers can gain a 90% contribution towards the cost through government investment. There are already 300 learners on the programme and it is anticipated that more than 1,000 learners per year will be able to access it.  

Bespoke programmes will be developed and delivered for each employer, covering skills that are required to be a successful manager such as effective communication, managing finance, leading and motivating a team and problem-solving and decision-making. 

Justin Rix, Partner, Talent Solutions, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: 

“Recent research found that the hardest jobs to fill are management roles. One of the core purposes of the Apprenticeship Levy is to encourage increased availability and uptake of quality training to address this gap, which is a threat to the future growth of the UK’s economy and a contributing factor to our existing productivity gap.  Our partnership with Activate Business School provides an opportunity for employers to offer their people first-class leadership and management training in line with the needs of their business, whilst also benefitting from the Apprenticeship Levy funding. 

“Grant Thornton is committed to shaping a vibrant economy and encouraging growth in dynamic organisations.  Through the development of management skills for future leaders, this collaboration expands our range of solutions to offer learning opportunities for first-time line manager positions all the way up to executive level.  We also know that apprenticeship programmes benefit social mobility by providing people with the opportunity to continue earning a salary whilst they gain the skills they need for future success.

“The programme is the newest addition to our range of partnerships with education providers which collectively allow us to develop bespoke solutions that help our clients achieve their growth ambitions.  Our partnership with Activate Business School builds on our existing relationships with Cranfield University and Babington Group and is a perfect example of how apprenticeships can provide flexibility for employers and employees – in this instance combining a highly regarding training programme with Grant Thornton’s commercial insight and practical application.”

Pablo Lloyd, CEO of Activate Business School, said: 

“Combining the strengths of Activate Business School with Grant Thornton is another step to enrich the leadership programmes we offer. We know the difference a high quality programme makes to our clients. 

“The Management Apprenticeship Programme is designed to meet apprenticeship funding requirements. That means businesses can put their existing employees through the programme and either use their Apprenticeship Levy or pay 10% of the cost. 

“Our partnership provides unique breadth and range, from the opening self-awareness module to national seminars, this is practical leadership on another level.”


Grant Thornton’s approach to learning and development: Our range of training programmes help employers improve the skills and knowledge of new and existing employees at all levels in their organisation.  Our programmes are specifically to help increase productivity and growth, and achieve sustainable, long-term results. Our recent ‘Generation Apprentice’ research showed us that the Apprenticeship Levy is encouraging 79% of employers to recruit more apprentices and that they recognise the value they can offer.  We have supported over 1,500 organisations to respond to the Apprenticeship Levy so far and are encouraging organisations to use the Levy as an opportunity to develop their entire workforce.

At Grant Thornton, around 15% of our 4,751 people are currently in earn and learn development programmes and around 6% are using apprenticeships. To develop future fit development programmes for our people we played a lead role in the development of the new Level 7 Accountancy Trailblazer Standard and have recently implemented it across our entry level routes.  In demonstration of our ongoing commitment to workplace training we have recently become members of The 5% Club, the employer-led movement that drives momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce.

About Activate Business School: Activate Business School is a leading provider of business consultancy and a member of the Activate Learning group. We specialise in leadership, management and professional development. Activate Business School nurtures, coaches and supports talent, driving the future of business across the UK. We combine consultancy and professional training expertise to deliver tangible improvements for individuals and organisations. Activate Business School is part of Activate Learning, a forward-thinking education group working across further education, higher education, schools, apprenticeships and training. We aim for far-reaching and progressive change and impact through learning. 

About Grant Thornton UK LLP: Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward-thinking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 38,500 Grant Thornton people, across over 120 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work. The UK Grant Thornton member firm provides services to over 40,000 privately held businesses, public interest entities and individuals. It is led by more than 185 partners and employs more than 4,600 of the profession’s brightest minds. © 2018 Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved.

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