The Levy and Leadership: How Employers are Investing in Their Managers Through Apprenticeships
Employers are chomping at the bit to invest the Apprenticeship Levy funding in ILM Diplomas for Leaders and Managers. The prospect of offering aspiring, new and existing employees the knowledge and skills to get to the next ‘career level’ is extremely attractive to those organisations looking to retain their talent and make full use of their levy.
We spoke to Nick Horan, Project Director at Square Mile Leadership, to find out how leadership apprenticeships work, how they will impact the management sector, and how companies can can benefit from the opportunities brought about by the levy.
An overview of Square Mile Leadership's apprenticeship training:
Square Mile Leadership (SML) is an approved delivery centre with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), part of the City & Guilds Group, and a Main Line Provider to deliver the newly approved ILM Trailblazer Apprenticeships for Leaders and Managers.
Specialising in ILM Level 3 and 5 Apprenticeship programmes - SML currently has over 200 potential learners and 30 new clients considering London focused leadership with SML Professionals – networked for success with its unique leadership exchange events.
How does the process work?
We offer blended learning with a London focus to maintain interest – a combination of experienced SML Coaches, workshops and OneFile Eportfolio containing a wealth of resources.
Will you also be training apprentices from non-levy-paying companies looking to utilise government co-investment funding?
We are applying right now – we hope to be from January.
Have you seen a big increase in apprenticeship training enquiries since the introduction of the levy?
Yes – as employers realise the benefits of utilising, rather than losing the levy tax, and recognising it’s a great opportunity to keep their talent through leadership diplomas, aimed at maximising business and individual performance.
Any notable trends?
There has been a noticeable upturn in the interest in developing managers at all levels.
How will leadership apprenticeships differ from standard leadership training?
The challenge has always been to make training stick. ILM Diplomas are comprehensive, and by their very nature, enable the embedding of new skills and positive behaviours to take place – something that shorter programmes rarely achieve.
Why do you think it’s so important for employers to invest in management?
Making change happen in business is key to survival. Most change fails due to lack of consistency, collaboration, community, coherence – and will.
Today, with ever faster digital challenges and the uncertainty of Brexit there are real and perceived concerns. Leaders with a clearer vision, stronger and more consistent message, and managers with more confidence, awareness and insight in motivating their teams, offer the difference between success and obscurity.
How will the levy impact the management sector specifically?
UK GDP is low against leading world countries. Improving leadership in UK plc will close the gap and make us more competitive, organisations will flourish and personnel will be better rewarded.
How do you think the levy will impact the training industry in general?
It will have a massive impact on UK business. Any organisation that is progressive and believes in its people will prosper. The positive impact will benefit all industry sectors – changing their mindset and increasing their outlook and attraction. Those who don’t invest will face losing their better staff and failing to attract new ones.
What do you think are the biggest challenges that companies face with regards to the levy?
There are a number of considerations; the 20% off the job rule is the biggest challenge for both employers and employees, then comes attracting learners with exciting programmes and then planning to keep their interest over time. Of less concern is the fear of losing personnel once they have qualified, recognising that it’s preferable to have a team well trained at the risk it might leave, or untrained at the risk it will stay.
We’re ready – Whilst it’s been hard work and complex to meet the exacting new standards and then to promote their value – SML is ready to go with our first cohorts this September.
Do you have any advice for companies looking to spend the levy funding in the most effective way?
Don’t negotiate on price, negotiate on the quality and flexibility of service – We need completions to improve performance; our clients, the learners and government; and SML is motivated to make it happen.
What do you see for SML's future with apprenticeships?
Assuming it’s not politically closed down then, fantastic – SML wishes to be a leading force of leadership apprenticeships in London and then nationally.
Anything else you think people should know?
SML, the Professionals network arm of Catalyst Learning and Development has always been about building relationships that make a difference. Working in partnership, we seek to offer professional excellence in our understanding of the outcomes our clients want, delivering the skills required by their managers against the new leadership standards, all supported with exceptional service delivery.
We believe we can enable learners to accurately record their 20% ‘off the job – but not out of the office’ and become more effective leaders and managers for their employers. Leadership is not so much about common sense as common practice.