Call for nominations: Chartered ABS Apprenticeships Committee

The Chartered Association of Business Schools is seeking new members for our Apprenticeships Committee.

17th July 2024

Productivity & Growth

Business schools play a vital role in addressing key economic challenges across the UK economy, from addressing regional inequality and a lack of productivity, to upskilling management. Our members are a key resource of expertise for government, regional stakeholders, and businesses in levelling up the UK economy, raising productivity and supporting growth.

The UK productivity gap and the link with management skills 

The UK has a long-standing productivity gap compared to other G7 countries, with the ONS estimating that labour productivity was on average 18% higher in the other six members of the G7 relative to the UK. There are a number of factors behind this productivity lag, notably the lack of awareness of the behavioural characteristics of successful leadership and comparatively low levels of investment in management training by organisations.

These gaps particularly affect Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), who are more likely to have low productivity compared to their larger counterparts and are less likely to adopt modern or structured management techniques and business technologies. SMEs also tend to have the lowest scores on surveys designed to measure the quality of business management and leadership.

Economic growth and the Small Business Charter 

In 2014 the Chartered ABS launched the Small Business Charter (SBC) accreditation. Developed by Lord Young, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Chartered ABS, the SBC was established to signpost entrepreneurs, small businesses, and local economic stakeholders to business schools in their region with the expertise to help them thrive.

The SBC’s mission is to power economic growth through business schools who excel in supporting small businesses, supporting student entrepreneurship and supporting local economies. The SBC and accredited business schools offer high-quality business support within reach of SMEs in every region and nation of the UK.

There are 67 accredited business schools across the UK that have undergone rigorous assessment of their support for small businesses and entrepreneurs.  

Productivity and the impact of the Help to Grow: Management Course 

In 2021, the Chartered ABS, through our Small Business Charter accreditation, became the government's delivery partner for the Help to Grow: Management Course. The course is designed to help SME business leaders and senior managers to increase productivity, innovation and growth within their organisations. Delivered by Small Business Charter accredited business schools, the 12-week course is available in more than 60 locations across the UK and Ireland, with 90% of the fee participants pay covered by the government. A commitment to continue the programme beyond 2025 was made in the 2023 Autumn Statement.

The course had enrolled over 8,000 business leaders by October 2023. According to the independent evaluation undertaken by Ipsos, participants have reported improvements in their management and leadership capabilities:

  • 91% said they had greater confidence in leading and managing their business.   

  • 90% said they were more aware of the factors that drive productivity.  

  • 85% said they better understood how to innovate their business model.

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