From education to employment

Meet leadership challenges by investing in people

LEADERSHIP and management skills to meet business challenges of the future have never been more important than now – a time when the speed of change can have a far-reaching effect on profitability.

Employers are currently spending more than £6 billion a year on the skills shortage – predominantly through recruitment activities – but buying skills instead of building them is only a short-term approach and one which ultimately will not pay dividends.

It’s crucial, therefore, that businesses take a more sustainable approach by using training to address their skills gaps from within and invest in their own people for these vital roles.

Training, however, comes at a cost. But Damian Burdin, Chief Executive at Progress to Excellence Ltd, believes that one key to employers’ investment in their future leaders is their use of the Apprenticeship Levy.

He said: “Leadership and management in industry and commerce is altering at an incredibly fast rate as global patterns of work change with automation, digitisation, flexible working and the average working age all increasing.

“Coupled with this is the huge skills gap problem facing businesses – so the urgency of finding solutions to keep our labour markets buoyant has never been more important.”

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has already predicted that challenges for managers posed by the UK’s pending departure from the EU are likely to be immense and is raising questions about whether business models and current ways of working need to be re-thought.

Damian continued: “The big question now is whether our managers are fully equipped to handle these changes. If employers accept that change is top of their agenda, the next question is: How do they pay to train leaders as part of their business’ sustained skills investment plan?

“The Apprenticeship Levy can therefore be a major source of funding to invest in managers and leaders at all levels, training and up-skilling them to be ahead of the game.”

To ensure there’s enough management talent in the pipeline, Damian believes investment needs to come from within to produce confident leaders who will motivate their teams, bring vision and a strong sense of a business’ own culture and identity.

He explained: “Home-grown talent, trained to a business’ specific operational methods and standards could be a great solution to plugging the specific skills gaps within that organisation. 

“Moving forward like this is crucial in preparing the UK’s workforce for a world of work where, because of the speed of change in working practices, there are no accurate predictions about what jobs of the future will look like. The only people who will be able to do this are the leaders and managers who can identify the specific skills their own business will need.”

NILE, is a ground-breaking management academy which is part of Progress to Excellence Ltd. Its leadership and management apprenticeships are designed to complement a company’s internal management training programme with the added benefit that all training comes with highly-recognised and sought-after qualifications, including ILM and CMI.

Along with commercial training and career development packages, NILE offers level 3 and 5 management apprenticeships. These not only include the new management standard but also offer six “added-value” courses and qualifications, including an ILM diploma and a choice of Prince2 or Lean6 Sigma project management courses.

Beyond this, apprentices can choose to “bolt-on” up to 400 qualifications that are sector-specific to them and NILE also provides training in finance, entrepreneurship and office administration.

Courses are based on a blended learning model, making them highly flexible while ensuring students are fully supported throughout their qualification.

All NILE training can be funded through the Apprenticeship Levy, by co-investment or by paying commercially.

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