Apprenticeship Levy, Case Studies

Using the Apprenticeship Levy to Broaden Senior Leader Diversity

This article was originally written for the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition 2021, where Corndel and Capita delivered a presentation on building diverse leadership teams using the Levy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation and the need for seamless collaboration. Employee and consumer expectations are rapidly changing, and industries are being shaken up at an unprecedented pace. And good employers are now taking action around ESG and especially diversity.

The benefits of a diverse workforce are well documented: better employee engagement, faster decision making, greater creativity, enhanced innovation, and increased profits. In a McKinsey & Company study of 180 companies in the UK, France, Germany and the US, they found that those with more diverse senior leadership teams were also top financial performers.

Despite some progress, women and BAME are still massively underrepresented in senior leadership roles. CMI’s Delivering Diversity report shows that only 6% of top management positions are held by  BAME men and women, despite making up 14% of the UK population.


Building Diverse Senior Leadership Teams

While technology has enabled flexible working and therefore increased accessibility in the workplace, challenges remain. Effective talent pipelines and employee retention are key to ensuring that diverse recruitment strategies at entry or mid-level translate into diverse leadership teams. According to Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Institute of Directors (IOD), the UK faces a management and leadership skills crisis; ranking well behind key competitors such as the US, Japan, and Germany.

People development is therefore critical to developing an increased and diverse leadership population.


The Response – the Imperial College Business School and Corndel Partnership

With a shared mission to revolutionise leadership and management skills in the UK workforce, Imperial  College Business School and Corndel have launched a new strategic partnership to develop world-class, high-impact training courses funded through the Apprenticeship Levy.

The first course launched under the partnership is the Imperial College and Corndel Executive  Development Programme, which equips senior leaders with the practical leadership skills required to motivate teams, inspire change and improve business performance.

Through breaking down the silo between academic excellence and vocational training, the partnership increases access to leading-edge thinking for businesses and continues to redefine the traditional apprenticeship, taking forward a vision of brilliant lifelong learning for all.


Strategic use of Levy-Funded Development Programmes

The unique combination of academic excellence from a world-leading business school, the expertise of the UK’s leading professional apprenticeship provider and Corndel’s award-winning delivery method affords the ability to use the Apprenticeship Levy to effectively broaden senior leader diversity. Key features of the programme encourage participants to think strategically about identifying and breaking down barriers to achieve diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

  1. Broadening the opportunity for lifelong learning through apprenticeships
    Apprenticeships are a valuable channel for developing the existing workforce, at scale. In contrast to many fast-track programmes for high-potential employees, which are mostly selective and inevitably susceptible to unconscious bias, apprenticeships are more open and inclusive and therefore more attractive to employees looking to progress in their careers,  regardless of prior education.
  2. Integrated continuous professional development fuelling talent pipelines
    When used as part of a targeted leadership and management development strategy, talent pipelines can increase diversity across an organisation from early careers through to leadership teams.
  3. Flexible, blended learning built around learners
    Corndel’s personalised, blended delivery model is built around learners and designed to fit into work schedules allowing a broader group of individuals to integrate lifelong learning and executive education into their personal and professional lives.
  4. Increasing access to leading edge business thinking
    Learners on the Imperial College and Corndel Executive Development Programme attend monthly masterclasses designed and delivered by Imperial College Business School’s leading academics, covering topics such as the social impact of business and how to lead in a technology driven world. Learners also receive Imperial College Executive Education Alumni Status upon completion of the course, as part of our commitment to diversify access to leading edge thinking.

Learn more about the Apprenticeship Levy

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