New College Durham worked with public and private sector employers and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) to develop a full Degree Apprenticeship in leadership and management.
As a result, employers can now choose from a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) as a full Degree programme or as a top-up programme studied part-time at college. The initiative aims to plug the leadership skills gap and avoid the concept of the ‘accidental manager’.
The project is one that New College Durham had been developing for around three years to create a unique offer to meet the needs of North East employers to improve their organisational performance.
Nicola Bowman, the college’s curriculum manager for management and professional qualifications, said:
There is definitely a skills gap in respect of leaders and managers. It’s a key requirement. The ‘accidental manager’ is something the CMI identified; a lot have no management training and there’s a big skills gap.
The college worked with the public sector – the university, the county council and the NHS – and smaller private sector employers including nursing homes and construction companies. It engaged with numerous employers that it had not worked with before to gather as many viewpoints as possible.
Employers provided feedback on what they’d like to see via meetings and an event during the summer. The college has now created a new course to meet those needs, which aims to start recruitment in January. Students will come into college on a part-time basis while continuing to work.
We held meetings with the CMI and came up with an assessment plan of what we had to cover. We picked out what employers thought were key and put our qualification together based on that information.
The HLHE funding allowed the college spend more quality time on the project.
It gave me the time to be able to do it, the Degree Apprenticeship is something we would’ve done anyway but having the money helped us widen the scope and time to that.
Prudhoe-based GMS, which sources and supplies engineered components for clients, was asked for its feedback after previous discussions with New College Durham about business law modules in its Degree programmes.
Key accounts coordinator, Jason Snowball, said:
Our business is quite diverse so you need to be a well-rounded individual. There are definitely always little holes that need filling. The main skills required are engineering knowledge and to be able to successfully manage a supply chain. We helped to develop the supply chain module, looking from both ends – where we are doing well and where we are falling down.
He found the opportunity to work with the college on the project “very positive for all involved”.
Jason added: “For me, it definitely points out as a business we just look at ourselves internally and only through the external viewpoint from New College Durham, we’ve found there might be better ways of doing things.
The college is very interested in making sure what they’re teaching young people is relatable in a real world situation that will help them when they’re employed in later life. There are cost implications there but it’s investment because you get that and more back with more rounded individuals working for you.