St Helens Chamber Business School builds bespoke training package for Knowsley Council

13 Sep 2018

Business Business School

In January, Knowsley Council enrolled 17 members of staff onto St Helens Chamber’s Level 5 Management Diploma, a degree level course aimed at business managers who would benefit from developing new management skills and techniques.

As an Apprenticeship Levy paying company, Knowsley Council were looking for an accredited training provider that could offer a bespoke training package to their employees.

Nicky Shamsee,  Senior Workforce Development Practitioner at Knowsley Council, said: “We first approached the Chamber due to their reputation for delivering high quality management training in our local area, we also knew the Chamber was an accredited provider, which was a requirement for the levy funding.

“For us, choosing the Chamber to deliver training has been about the high quality and the approach. Chamber staff listened to what we were looking for and have created a course to meet our requirements.

“We have also been provided with a number of additional free short workshops run at the Chamber as well as the planned taught sessions that are brought to us, which has added a value that some other providers couldn’t give us.”

As part of the tailored training package, Training Advisers from the Chamber deliver monthly taught sessions at the Council’s Training Centre located in Halewood.

Nicky added: “The training has been fantastic as the Chamber comes to us, the staff don’t have far to travel and it feels much more local.

“We have a workforce of around 2600 and there are a significant number of managers who are managing teams within the Council. We currently have another cohort of staff receiving training in Leadership in Health and Social Care through the Chamber and are keen to address our workforce development challenges by utilising the apprenticeship levy in a way that meets our organisational priorities. We hope the programme will give staff the tools to manage themselves and their teams so that the residents of Knowsley get the best possible service from the Council.”

Recognising the importance of keeping a flow of qualified and experienced managers, Knowsley Council plan to use the programme as part of their Workforce Planning process so there is consistency in management skills and approaches to the changing face of local government and the challenges that brings.

Nicky continued: “The management training will be an ongoing programme for us and  we are looking to start a new cohort on a year by year basis. We like to develop our managers from within the organisation so we have a constant demand of employees to upskill  We feel this investment in training as crucial to retaining the best possible staff and to making sure that we have consistent skill levels across the organisation.

“Our dealings with the Chamber have been brilliant, in particular with Rita and Joanne. They understand what we are looking for and the constraints we have within the business. They also understand the business and the difference between services within Council and understand that at times the training needs to be flexible.”

Spread over two years, the course covers specific leadership and management topics such as managing improvements, managing strategic change and critical thinking.

Jason Taylor,  Information Technology Analyst at Knowsley Council, said: “The personal development, just in the space of a few months has been excellent. You have a perception of how you are as a person aDSC00072nd a manager but then you start looking into different theories about how to engage with staff and understand their needs and style of working and it makes you more human.

“You can apply what you have learnt and take it back with you to the workplace. For example, we recently did a session on staff morale. When you go back to the office you realise there are things you should be doing that you don’t do.

“I hope to not only become a better manager, but gain a better insight into how to get the most out of people. In a staffing environment it’s easy to overlook the fact that everyone is  different and deals with things in a different way. It’s about gaining those skills to manage people better, because if staff are happier, they are more productive.

“My dealings with Chamber staff have been excellent, Bobbie, our main tutor is a great source of support. You don’t realise the amount of work you need to put in to get something out, but it’s all worth it in the end.”

Cohorts for the Level 5 Management Diploma start three times a year in January, April and September at St Helens Chamber and Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce.

The Apprenticeship Levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill of over £3 million each year, to invest in Apprenticeships.

St Helens Chamber will carry out a free training needs analysis on your workforce and put a fully costed training plan in place, which allows you to recoup the maximum value from your Levy contributions through investing in staff training.

To find out more contact workforce development on 01744 742333 or email