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Addressing the national skills gap: Henley apprenticeship programmes rated 'Good' by Ofsted

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Henley Business School’s range of levy-funded apprenticeships have been praised for effectively addressing regional and national skills needs and improving business productivity.

A significant achievement for a higher education institute, apprenticeship programmes at Henley received a ‘good’ rating across all areas of our first Ofsted inspection - quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management.

Designed for aspiring young professionals and experienced employees alike, the feedback on Henley’s apprenticeships highlighted how apprentices’ managers and senior colleagues “appreciate the rapid and positive impact that Henley learners have on their organisations’ strategic priorities”. It was recognised that “work-based projects have a broad impact for apprentices’ organisations”, with learners quickly growing in confidence as they gain new skills to take into the workplace.

Professor Elena B. Spasova, Dean of Henley Business School, said:

“We are proud of the transformational impact that our apprenticeship programmes have on our learners and their organisations alike.  At Henley, we offer a full portfolio of programmes from early career all the way up to board level, and it’s this broad experience that enables us to have a clear and complete vision for our apprenticeship provision.

Since introducing apprenticeships back in 2017, we’ve been able to develop stronger relationships with employers, working closely to design programmes that address their skills and productivity challenges. This means our programmes are successfully addressing regional and national skills requirements."

To ensure that apprentices’ work and training are well co-ordinated and effective, Henley’s tutors and line managers collaborate fully with employers and apprentices. It was noted that the engaging and challenging activities provided help apprentices to explore their learning and apply it effectively in their workplaces.

Learners particularly benefit from Henley’s highly qualified and experienced staff who use their academic knowledge and practitioner expertise to help apprentices map learning to their vocational contexts, frequently enabling them to gain rapid promotions.

Kimberley Adderley, Head of Apprenticeships at the Cabinet Office, said:

“Our aim is for people to feel that the Cabinet Office is supportive and invested in their career development, and for staff to feel they can prioritise their learning - leadership has never been more important in the Cabinet Office and the Civil Service. We developed the Emerging Leaders programme, with Henley Business School, so that our learners have the time, space and tools needed to equip them for the Civil Service challenges of the future when they become our leaders. What we particularly liked about this programme was the long-term focus; it’s aimed at our mid-level managers who have been identified as top talent, and on trajectory for the Senior Civil Service, but who don’t yet have the experience and exposure, which this high quality programme helps to provide.

Our joint apprenticeship programme is strategically important to the Cabinet Office, building future capability now that will enable us to deal with the challenges and opportunities of the future.”


Henley launched levy-funded apprenticeships in 2017, with the first cohort in partnership with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Now working with individuals, small businesses and multinational organisations, Henley is one of the largest higher education providers. It has welcomed 2,742 new apprentices over the last seven years from over 200 employers across a range of sectors including health, the public sector, finance, telecoms, consumer services and pharmaceuticals.

Dr Anne Dibley, Head of Post-Experience and Apprenticeship programmes at Henley, said:

“At Henley, we work hard to ensure that our learner journey has a transformational impact on every apprentice, challenging their assumptions and provoking new lines of thinking.  By achieving this impact on the individual, there is then a clear path to genuine transformation within their organisations. We will continue to take positive strides towards addressing skills’ gaps and improving productivity.”

Published 24 August 2023
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Henley news

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