During the recent Elevate Your Workforce webinar, a panel of specialists and a current apprentice on the Chartered Manager Degree Programme discussed the value of Learning and Development. The webinar is available to watch again for free on the link provided.

Key highlights of the discussion:

Tim Major,
Senior Account Manager
Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce (TVCC)

Tim highlighted that:

"attracting, recruiting, and developing talent remains challenging for employers, with 65% experiencing difficulties", according to the Q1 2024 Economic Report from the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce (TVCC)."

Sarah Atkinson,
Panel Host & Employer Engagement Officer
University Centre Newbury (UCN) at Newbury College

Poor management was also cited as a challenge to business within the discussion. In the UK alone, bad managers are estimated to cost businesses £84 billion annually (OECD). 

Employers are seeking ways to differentiate themselves in such a crowded talent market, so enabling staff to gain new skills and achieve a professional qualification whilst working increases loyalty and helps future-proof the organisation. Learning and development are key components of any organisation’s EVP. Staff want to feel they are being invested in and equipped with the right skills to be successful.

Sarah commented:

“We know that retaining and attracting the right talent is a constant struggle, and so employers today must invest in every aspect of their offer to ensure their Employer Value Proposition (EVP) appeals to the broadest pool of talent.

She continued: 

"Newbury College has been collaborating with employers across various sectors and industries for many years, and the key thing all organisations have in common is the need for good management. Employees who work under effective managers are 15 times more likely to excel and three times more likely to stay (Gartner, 2023). According to Gallup, a great manager can even increase profitability by 48%. But right now, organisations are facing a crisis in management. Not only are managers failing to make an impact, but they are also sometimes making things worse.”

Dr Jo Houghton,
Vice Principal HE and Skills
Newbury College & UCN

Jo explained that the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) was launched in response to the need to improve leadership quality:

“Poor management skills can impact a business in many ways. For example, low-quality management creates an unhealthy work environment. Therefore, it’s no surprise that 50% of employees with poor managers plan to leave their jobs in the coming year (CMI, 2023). Bad management does not just affect performance; it impacts the team's well-being. 50% of people with low-quality managers experience poor mental health (CIPD, 2023). This is unsurprising considering managers account for 22% of a person’s overall well-being.”

Paulina Ojo MA, FIoH,
Development Coach - CMDA & Course Leader- BA (Hons) Management
University Centre Newbury

Paulina explained:

“With so much uncertainty in the world, employers need leaders who understand not only the role of business in society but also how to lead through change. For example, the UK General Election presents the possibility of a change in the business environment. The CMDA programme at UCN empowers managers to adapt and develop a proactive approach to uncertainty. Employees are provided with tools to evaluate their leadership style, looking at authentic leadership, ethical leadership, situational leadership, and the roles these play in times of uncertainty.”

Khushi Ashwin,
CMDA Apprentice
University Centre Newbury

Khushi explained why she chose the Chartered Manager Degree:

“I always knew I wanted to do something business-related. I did have a look at university, but I realised I learn better through getting hands-on experience. I decided on the course because it gives me broad exposure and understanding of the business. I particularly like how much support we receive from our Development Coach and the leadership skills we are acquiring.”


The CMDA is a great opportunity for all businesses to utilise government funding (and/or existing funds you may already be paying). Use this opportunity for your business to:

  • attract new talent
  • retain and upskill existing staff
  • improve business performance
  • support social mobility - enabling those who may not have been able to afford university to gain a professional qualification whilst learning on the job
  • support your Corporate Social Responsibility goals

To find out more about how your business could benefit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 01635 845229

You can watch the whole webinar here: Elevate your Workforce - Watch again