Simplifying Leadership & Management Progression and Development
Introduction - Background to Project
West Yorkshire is the largest sub-region within the Yorkshire and Humber Region and is home to 43
per cent of all businesses, employment and residents in the region. Over two million people live in the
diverse West Yorkshire geographic area with large populations concentrated in urban areas such as
Leeds and Bradford. There are five Local Authority Districts compromising Bradford, Calderdale,
Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.
West Yorkshire hosts five of the region’s nine Universities, one of two Higher Education Colleges and
has seven Colleges of Further Education, six of which offering higher education. There are extensive
links between universities and colleges within and beyond the sub-region. Further Education Colleges
deliver approximately 12%
of higher education provision, including Diplomas, Honors Degrees, and
professional accredited qualifications.
The opportunities offered in West Yorkshire Colleges and Universities is both wide-ranging and
extensive and covers knowledge transfer partnerships, research excellence in a number of vocational
areas such as medicine, pharmaceuticals, health and allied professions, engineering, law, business
and finance, technology, the built environment, culture, media, the arts and sport. It has long been
recognized in this region that to create higher value businesses which can compete, effective
leadership and management is an essential ingredient. This is reflected in the Leeds City Region
plans and skills priorities.
The Simplifying Leadership and Management Progression and Development project was managed by
the Higher Education Access Rewarding Transforming (HEART) partnership which comprises twelve
of the sub-region’s Universities and Colleges.
Partners engaged in the project included Bradford College, Chartered Management Institute (CMI),
Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), Kirklees College, Leeds City College, Leeds College of
Building, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds Trinity University, University of Huddersfield, University
of Leeds (Lifelong Learning Centre) and Wakefield College.
The broad range of qualifications and awarding bodies providing leadership and management
presents potential learners with a crowded and confusing market place. There is poor understanding
amongst employers and potential learners about the notion of ‘credit’ for professional qualifications,
experience, skills and knowledge gained at work and how this might be used to gain access to a full
degree, considerably enhancing an individual’s earning potential, his/her market competitiveness and
business effectiveness and efficiency. There is no one referral point except the HEART Partnership
which brings Further and Higher Education providers together in the West Yorkshire sub-region.
With economic and labour market conditions significantly ‘tighter’, reduced funding available to
educational institutions, individuals and businesses the impact on Further and Higher Education has
seen re-organisation, ‘down-sizing’, mergers, as well as some seeking new markets.
Set within this context this project provides a platform for new business development for colleges and
universities within the employed workforce.
Currently, opportunities to progress from first line management qualifications at level 3 on to higher
levels (4-7) exist but often only offering clarity within one awarding body offer (e.g. within the ILM, CMI
suite of qualifications). In transferring to other providers learning that has already been undertaken at
Progress in the Region (2005)
the previous provider can be repeated. This is both time consuming, de-motivating for the learner and
incurs a cost that is not necessary.
Key aims and outcomes for the project were set as:
develop clear and transparent progression agreements detailing pathways through the leadership
and management award portfolios from L3-7 of at least ILM and CMI
credit transfer arrangements from QCF awards to HEQF awards identified agreed and articulated
information on progression and credit transfer options communicated to all ILM and CMI providers
in West Yorkshire
subject to timeframes initial numbers of learners eligible to progress using the pilot and numbers
The Project Journey
Extensive work was undertaken in the development phase through the successor body of the West
Yorkshire Lifelong Learning Network (HEART) to build on the top level support for partnership working
amongst the universities and colleges. The formation of the steering group and partner meetings
aided communications, sharing of good practice, not only about the project but on wider issues.
There were significant challenges to overcome outlined in the next section. However the project team
worked skilfully and with determination to overcome these. The project ambitions were high,
particularly in regard to engaging such a wide range of diverse partners – it would have been simpler
to engage with one partner but this would not have reflected how learners in West Yorkshire can
choose to learn from such a wide range of providers.
The key elements of the project journey included engaging partners, preparing a thorough project
plan with clear targets, milestones and timescales and finding ways to overcome challenges.
Producing the template for mapping was greatly aided by the work of the University of Leeds.
However the complexity of the resulting information from so many institutions made it clear that a
paper based method of presenting the results would not simplify matters for institutions, learners and
employers. The steering group and partner meetings greatly aided communications and secured the
The complexity also suggested the need to engage partners in discussing and ideally agreeing to
development of a common credit value for ILM and CMI certificates and diplomas.
The role of the web developers in producing the on-line tool to enable clients to see where and how to
gain credit for their ILM/CMI awards is worth noting as part of the project journey. Statement Digital
http://www.statementdigital.com/ was commissioned by the HEART partnership to develop the web
site. Statement works closely with Wakefield College, taking FdA Web Design students on work
experience and recruiting from this pool of talent.
The key challenges to overcome included changes of staff, organisational restructuring, and individual
institutional quality assurance systems across such a wide range of partners engaged in the project.
Changes to degree awarding bodies for Further Education also impacted on the institutions’ priorities.
There was also a staff development need to ensure staff know where to refer enquiries and how to
handle CATS processes. In addition different internal academic departments in institutions may view
CATS in different ways – there is often no one single institutional policy on this. When organisations
are undergoing significant change caused by changes to fees policies and funding they are most
likely to consider what core business is and may not consider CATS as the most important activity
engaged in, particularly if it is not a key income generator.
Bradford College has offered considerable support to the HEART partnership in general, and played a
significant role in this project. The nature of being an accredited ILM centre together with having the
breadth of HEQF awards to offer for progression, L4-7, places them as an influential and leading
provider in the sub-region. The College sees the CATS process as a growth engine for new markets
with the Dean of HE stating the project has “reinvigorated the College’s interest in and
enthusiasm for CATS”. This enthusiasm has been shared by the College Principal as Chair of the
Leeds City Region Skills Network with providers through the full region.
With such a wide portfolio of awards offered for progression, the project lead for the college rapidly
realised that the mapping process was a considerably larger undertaking than originally considered.
The mapping matrix provided by the University of Leeds was helpful but considerable adaptation to
meet the college’s portfolio was required. This complexity supported Bradford in being an early
signatory to the common credit value proposal, also supported by the University of Leeds, which
reduces the burden of conducting detailed mapping in favour of higher level learning aims/outcomes
mapping. With the leading HE in FE provider and a Russell Group University backing the model this
appeared to reassure other partners that the model could be accepted and enabled individual project
leads to take the model forward for institutional quality approval. This is perceived as a major step
forward and overcoming a significant barrier.
Potential barriers were faced by Further Education Colleges engaged in the project as a result of
changes to validating partner. Although this had the potential to delay decisions and actions the
nature of partnership between the colleges concerned enabled them to move ahead and approach
Barriers were overcome simply by the commitment of partner and project staff to find solutions, work
together, through higher level support, using influencing skills and institutional peer pressure. Tools
such a staff development sheet and the website, combined with the successful launch of the work
results has stimulated significant interest from far and wide.
The key emergent model is the common credit value transfer, affording a guaranteed 20 credits
transfer for ILM, CMI certificates and 40 credits for diplomas. This model is operational in 7 of the 9
Two partners remain outside this agreement:
Leeds College of Building – explored many awards for potential credit transfer. This led to
identification of just one award, British Institute of Facilities Management L4. Their
recommendation of credit transfer was not approved by the awarding body which suggested
general leadership/management development was inadequate for facilities management.
University of Huddersfield – The only institution choosing to remain voluntarily outside the base-
line credit model. A thorough mapping process led them to a considerably different stance on
credit transfer. They will not guarantee any credit transfer and require anyone wishing to
progress to attend for interview. CMI is seen by them as having more potential value than ILM
and therefore they may offer up to 75 credits transfer for L7 CMI Diploma whereas the maximum
value for a similar L7 ILM diploma is capped at 15 credits.
Both Leeds Metropolitan University and Leeds Trinity University undertook particularly detailed
mapping processes. Both found the CMI qualifications able to match up such that they could agree to
the common credit value and in the case of the CMI L7 Diploma actually offer 60 credits. ILM was far
more challenging and required careful navigation through faculty and institutional quality assurance
systems to secure the common credit value.
Chartered Management Institute (CMI) & Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM)
20 Credits Guaranteed Transfer
40 Credits Guaranteed Transfer
Key Learning Outcomes
What are the outcomes, how is the project scalable and transferable to the wider sector, next steps.
The key outcomes delivered are:
A curriculum mapping tool which could be transferred and applied across any institution
A fully searchable web based tool, www.heart.ac.uk/management-courses, which enables
individuals and businesses to identify where to go to use their professional qualification, skills and
experience to gain access to Higher Education and to achieve best value for money and also gain
‘credit’ and a subsequent discount on course fees
Opportunity to apply this tool beyond ILM and CMI across other professional awarding bodies
such as AAT.
Simplification and transparency in pathways and credit transfer from QCF to HEQF awards
Communication of the offer not only to ILM and CMI centres in West Yorkshire but across the
North of England, leading to interest and enquiries being received from the North West, North
East and Buckinghamshire.
One key lesson is that internal higher level support is definitely needed and this was evidenced
particularly at Bradford College with the Dean of Higher Education providing encouragement, hosting
the CATs Colloquium and the highly successful project launch and through the regular engagement of
the ILM Executive Team through David Pardey, Head of Research & Policy.
With the right dialogue, clear partner intent and significant persistence and perseverance it is possible
to overcome barriers and deliver substantial changes to CATS approaches. David Pardey of ILM told
us, “Working with HEART has been superb. It has enabled ILM to get 9 progression
agreements and most with credit transfer in 9 months and across a range of levels. An
agreement with just one institution in the south for one award took 18 months.” He sees the
simplicity of the database as a model of good practice and one that they are sharing across the
“This is fantastic. We should have had this ten years ago.” (Terry Biscomb, CMI provider)
‘Brilliant’ (Charles Elvin, CEO ILM)