Developing our future leaders

Source: PSE Feb/March 2018

Kerry Bishop, apprenticeship and qualification development manager at the LGSS (pictured), provides an insight into how the organisation is supporting its partner councils to invest in their employees through the apprenticeship levy.

LGSS is in a unique position of working alongside its three partner authorities, Cambridgeshire County, Northamptonshire County and Milton Keynes councils, to provide workforce development support. This has enabled LGSS to increase the number of apprenticeships offered and maximise the benefits from funding paid through the apprenticeship levy to support each council in achieving its public sector headcount target.

The LGSS business model is built on an ethos of sharing investment, running costs, staff and resources with a view to increasing efficiency, drive savings and improve services. Our approach to implementing the government’s apprenticeship reforms has followed these same core principles.

The initial focus for each council has been to use the levy to develop existing staff, resulting in the majority of apprentices currently on programmes being existing employees.

In an ever-changing public sector landscape, one of the professional skills we have concentrated on is the development of the next generation of managers and leaders. We currently have apprentices on three different apprenticeship programmes focused on developing management and leadership skills at different levels.

Chartered Manager Degree

This three-year programme will equip our apprentices with the skills and knowledge to take responsibility for people, projects, operations and/or services to deliver long-term organisational success.

Delivered on site by Solihull College and University Centre, training is structured to provide regular blocks of face-to-face teaching, supplemented with activities and work to complete online. Our apprentice chartered managers will graduate with a BA (Hons) Business and Management Practice, awarded by Oxford Brookes University in three years’ time. 

Operations/departmental manager

Delivered by LGSS, this apprenticeship develops the skills required to manage teams and/or projects to achieve operational or departmental goals and objectives. As an existing ILM-accredited centre, we have designed our programme around the ILM Level 5 Diploma for leaders and managers. At the end of their course, our apprentices will receive their apprenticeship certificate and an ILM diploma.

Team leader/supervisor

Also delivered in-house, this apprenticeship provides development for those new to a first line management or supervisory role. Apprentices learn about team management, leadership techniques, performance management, relationship management, communications, human resources and legal requirements, operational and project management, and financial management.  This apprenticeship also leads to the achievement of the ILM Level 3 Diploma for managers. 

Adjusting to the opportunities presented by the apprenticeship levy requires a significant shift in behaviour, perception, attitude and organisational culture. Whilst we are still transitioning, we have implemented various activities to support our partner councils to access their levy.

One example is our apprenticeship representatives group, made up of employees from across our partners councils, who meet once a quarter to support the councils to develop into organisations where apprenticeship opportunities are embraced and where apprentices are valued, supported and encouraged. The group is collectively responsible for helping to ensure that their service area/business optimises the number of apprentices employed and makes full use of available funding, and that apprenticeships are used strategically to facilitate successful workforce planning and individual career development.

We have engaged with regional and national forums and events hosted by the LGA and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to learn and share good practice.

Looking forward, we are planning to celebrate our apprentices’ achievements during National Apprenticeship Week in March. Later this year, following approval, we are excited to introduce a Senior Leader Apprenticeship and a Social Work Degree Apprenticeship.


Find out more about LGSS and its apprenticeships at:


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