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News release

Grant Thornton and Activate extend apprenticeship collaboration to 2027

Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP and award-winning management training provider Activate Business School have agreed an extension to their contract to deliver leadership and management apprenticeships until 2027.  Available to all organisations in England, the programmes help employers to develop their employees’ skills to become successful managers and future leaders.

Combining Activate Business School’s expert knowledge of skills development with Grant Thornton’s commercial knowledge and expertise, over 1,000 learners from across 70 different organisations have enrolled on the programmes since the launch in 2018.

Grounded in practical application, the programme provides the skills, tools and techniques required for people to develop their capability as team leaders and operational managers.  Aligned to the Level 3 and Level 5 management apprenticeship standards the programme is designed to equip future and current team leaders with the necessary management skills to both progress their own career and lead effective, productive teams.

Participants gain cross-sector knowledge through access to regular events and can achieve Chartered Management Institute qualifications alongside their work-based studies.

For employers, the costs of the programme are accessible. Larger employers can utilise their Apprenticeship Levy to fully fund development whilst smaller employers can access a 95% funding contribution towards the cost from government.

Tailored programmes are developed and delivered for each employer, covering skills that are required to be a successful manager such as effective communication, managing finance, leading, and motivating a team and problem-solving and decision-making. 

Justin Rix, Partner, Talent Solutions, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: 

“Recent findings from our Business Outlook Tracker* showed that employers are not only using apprenticeships more than they were in 2018 when we launched this partnership, but they are also planning to increase their uptake of apprenticeships in 2022.

Since the pandemic started, organisations are placing different demands on their managers, and it is proving important that they are equipped with the right skills to lead as businesses settle into remote working.

“Research** shows that the hardest jobs to fill are management roles.  One of the core purposes of the Apprenticeship Levy is to encourage increased availability and uptake of quality training to address this gap, which is a threat to the future growth of the UK’s economy and a contributing factor to our existing productivity gap.  Our partnership with Activate Business School provides an opportunity for employers to offer their people first-class leadership and management training in line with the needs of their business, whilst also benefitting from the Apprenticeship Levy funding. 

Fiona Stillwell, Managing Director of Activate Business School, said: 

“We have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Grant Thornton over the past several years, helping organisations to maximise their Apprenticeship Levy to train and upskill staff. What is great about the work we are doing, is that those entering our programme receive a high-quality experience that gives them a breadth of knowledge and practical leadership skills, helping to create an engaged and motivated workforce.”    

Ciara Mahon, Global Talent Management & Leadership Development Manager at Oxford University Press, said:

“Together Activate Business School and Grant Thornton provide a valuable, relevant and robust learning programme, for which many OUP Managers are benefitting from in their Apprenticeship experiences. The programmes we partner on are helping us to build our management capability and develop diverse talent in the UK and we look forward to welcoming many more new and experienced managers on to programmes with them in the future.”

Find out more.

*The Grant Thornton Business Outlook Tracker is a bi-monthly survey of circa 600 mid-market businesses. Censuswide (on behalf of Grant Thornton UK LLP) surveys senior decision makers in UK mid-market businesses. The UK mid-market is defined as companies with an average annual turnover between £50million - £500million. 

**City & Guilds Skills Shortage Nation Report