University partnership inspires managers of the future

Link-up with housing association to encourage staff ambition.

One of the region’s leading housing associations has teamed up with University College Birmingham to develop a bespoke programme to inspire the organisation’s future managers.

Midland Heart has created a 12-month ‘Aspiring Managers’ programme, tailored to meet the exact needs of the business as part of its leadership academy. The programme is a key element in their strategy to grow their own talent and creating an environment where people can really develop their careers.

Working closely with UCB, twenty of their current staff will work towards a level 3 qualification, accredited with the Chartered Management Institute, in team leading and supervising, with additional modules in coaching and mentoring, and leading change. This is the first programme of its kind and utilises funds from the new Apprenticeship Levy as Bal Kang, Director of HR at Midland Heart, explains: “Historically, apprenticeship and other such schemes were structured in such a way that there was little room for diversifying content.

“However, the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy provides organisation’s such as ourselves with the opportunity to develop bespoke courses which meet the future commercial needs of our business.

“By working with UCB we have been able to create the right development path relevant to each person. Initially open to just ten individuals, the response within the business has been phenomenal, which has led to 20 places being awarded in the first year. By approaching how we utilise the funds from the Apprenticeship Levy differently, we can now open up the training to anyone who wants to change career path or feels they need to re-train, there is also no age barrier either which is a huge advantage.”

The first cohort of 20 staff come from a diverse range of departments at Midland Heart, including operations, finance, corporate affairs and governance. With the learners age’s range from early 20s to late 40s, the organisation is proving it is never too late to learn.

“Last year, we launched the Leadership Academy which forms part of Midland Heart’s corporate strategy to develop it’s leadership capability,” continues Bal.

“Having started with strategic and operational leaders, then frontline managers, we are now looking to grow the organisation’s future talent with the ‘Aspiring Managers’ programme, but this talent pool has no age restrictions. The new programme is designed to provide anyone with the chance of startring their journey into a managerial role with us, and will enable candidates to upskill their Maths and English too if required. The programme will give our people the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to have the best chance of securing a future managerial role.”

The successful apprentices start their new course on 10 October and will undertake a mix of class and work-based learning.

Assessors will also visit learners in their working environment to determine how much external support each requires and tailor the learning journey accordingly.

Midland Heart’s partnership with UCB is set to inspire other companies who are currently looking at their own schemes as Gail Tipper, Head of Apprenticeships at UCB, explains: “Midland Heart is one of the first organisations to explore how apprenticeship schemes can work to maximise the outcome for all and we are delighted to have been able to develop a new programme which suits their exact requirements.

“Universities such as ourselves need to flex to our clients’ needs and we are currently working with a number of businesses to develop educational programmes which are designed to meet the needs of their business in the future.”