UK bike firms set to gain from funded business management degrees

A partnership between the Anglia Ruskin University and the Bicycle Association will result in the development of a unique business management degree for the cycling industry.

First shown to BA members in London earlier this month, the link up will form part of the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship programme funded by the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy. The result is a chance for bike industry firms to develop their leadership talent.

Steve Garidis, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association, said: “In an industry which the Bicycle Association is positioning with Government as being of national strategic importance, we need to recognise and develop high quality leadership and business management skills. The BA believes this degree level programme initiative is of real strategic value, and the enhanced skills it will deliver are exactly what is needed to grow the industry and make it more efficient and profitable. There will also be individual benefits to our member companies who take part: they’ll find it an effective means to attract, develop and retain talented managers and leaders.”

Those bike businesses with a wage bill in excess of £3 million will be eligible to either part of full funding for the programme. Businesses already pitching in to the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, from which this funding is drawn, regardless of whether they benefit from the courses supported.

For businesses with a lower wage bill such industry specific courses are 95% Government subsidised, leaving only a small cost to meet.

With courses likely to begin as early as 2020, firms with an interest are invited to help shape the content around ‘live’ business management issues within the industry.

Vanessa Knowles, Director of Corporate Programmes at ARU said: “Anglia Ruskin University is one of the largest providers of apprenticeship programmes in England and has a well established reputation for delivering the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship tailored to specific industries. We’re excited to work with the Bicycle Association on a qualification we believe could help promote the bicycle industry as a destination career for its members. The programme can also develop valuable management and leadership knowledge and skills that can enhance professional expertise and competence.”

Courses will be judged on students’ ability to improve the businesses which employ them, creating a direct link from course participation to company success. Students would need to be able to commit to just a few days per month for the programme, which can take place over a two or three year period. Start dates are staggered throughout the year.

Course delivery is flexible and ARU can deliver the programme at either the businesses’ own location (or if several companies contribute, the location could rotate between them) or ARU can host the programme at an agreed residential venue.

Course dates are said to be tuned to avoid key calendar dates, such as trade shows, to ensure businesses can function at their best at peak times.

Those wishing to learn more can make contact with the BAGB here.

Related: Training as a bike mechanic? These are the UK’s top schools.