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National Apprenticeship Week 2019

Developing the next generation of managers and leaders

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Rob Wall

Head of Policy, The Chartered Management Institute

Employer demand for management and leadership skills is at a 5-year high, according to the Confederation of British Industry. Over 70% of employers plan to recruit more managers and leaders in the next couple of years and management apprenticeships are key to plugging these critical skills gaps.


Management and leadership are key to our economic success. However, the UK has an estimated 2.4m “accidental” managers – promoted into leadership roles because of their functional expertise but left to sink or swim when it comes to management. 

Hard skills and soft skills are not the same thing

As a result, poor management has been calculated to cost the UK economy £84bn a year. These neglected managers are, according to authorities like Office for National Statistics and the Bank of England, one of the biggest factors in our competitive weakness. 

To close this gap we must recognise the pivotal role of management and leadership skills in boosting productivity. There needs to be a national focus on upskilling these “accidental” managers to confident, competent, qualified managers.

Empower managers with management apprenticeships

Management apprenticeships have a key role to play in skilling and upskilling managers and closing the productivity gap.

This is why CMI has worked with a range of employers to develop a suite of high-quality management apprenticeships, ranging from level 3 up to level 7.

Today’s management apprentices are tomorrow’s senior civil servants, business leaders and entrepreneurs, and these people need to reflect the population as a whole. 

The range on offer means that learners can progress through the different programmes and develop higher level skills. The courses help people move into their first management role and they support senior leaders as they take their first steps into the boardroom.

As a result, management apprenticeships are proving to be a great success with employers and apprentices alike. The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, for example, is now the most popular degree apprenticeships with well over 2,000 new starters in 2017/18.

We need diversity in our future leaders

Today’s management apprentices are tomorrow’s senior civil servants, business leaders and entrepreneurs, and these people need to reflect the population as a whole. 

The next generation of leaders needs to be much more diverse than the current one. For example, over half of Chartered Manager degree apprentices are women. Management apprenticeships are building a pipeline of future female leaders, which can help redress the gender imbalance in our boardrooms.

Social mobility can be bolstered by management apprenticeships 

Apprenticeships also play a role in boosting social mobility. Degree apprenticeships can widen participation by offering a full degree through the employer-funded apprenticeship pathway. Over two in five apprentices on the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship are from the more economically disadvantaged parts of the UK, highlighting the potential for management apprenticeships to boost an individual’s life chances and ensure that businesses benefit from the widest talent pool possible.

For more information visit managers.org.uk

CMI’s suite of high-quality management apprenticeships:

Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship 
Level 5 Operations Manager Apprenticeship
Level 6 Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship
Level 7 Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship

February 2019

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